October 21st - Two humpback whales near Porlier Pass

Another beautiful, crisp October day and another amazing encounter with humpback whales. We have been so fortunate to see so many new and returning individuals in the northern part of the Strait of Georgia.

Humpback whales are migratory, spending their summers up here in the cold Pacific Northwest and their winters down south in the warm waters of Hawaii and Mexico. All of the whales we’ve been seeing lately have spent MONTHS eating, eating, eating. Their goal while up here in our rich waters is to pack on as many pounds as possible. With that new, thick blubber layer they will be able to fast all winter and focus on mating and nursing.

Before they start that though, they all need to swim. They will swim for days upon days, stoppping/slowing for resting periods and then swim some more. Right now we are watching these giants gain their last energy reserves before their incredible journey.

Our tour on the 21st took us into the protected Gulf Islands, past stunning scenic fall colours in calm conditions. It was quite windy in certain parts of the Strait of Georgia and boats from across the pond were searching in some chop. Hoping we wouldn’t have to go out into the mess, we scanned the shoreline hoping for any signs of a fluke or dorsal. Finally, the radio rang loud “Humpback just outside of Porlier Pass!” and our crew cheered!

We spent time with not one, but two gorgeous humpback whales. Both showed us their flukes but so far no luck on matching up these flukes. They might be individuals we haven’t seen before! If you are lucky enough to get a fluke shot of a humpback and are curious to know “who” it is, there is a free online catalogue available to you! Keta Coastal Conservation is a local NGO who do non-invasive research on our local humpback whale population and they have generously made this resource free to the public. Check it out! www.ketacoastalconservation.org

Here are some of the best photos taken on the tour by marine naturalist Rodrigo Menezes.

Jilann LechnerComment