May 15th - Getting acquainted with Scratchy the humpback whale

Clear skies and warm temperatures welcomed us as we departed the docks in our zodiac boat, Cascadia. We headed over to Moresby Island where we encountered a feeding humpback whale by the name of KEY0011, better known as Scratchy.

 Scratchy preparing for a deep dive. Photo by Val Watson

Scratchy preparing for a deep dive. Photo by Val Watson

 

Identified humpback whales have unique code names that tell us quite a bit about an individual. The first two letters indicate the organization responsible for first identifying a whale, in this case KETA Coastal Conservation. The third letter describes the fluke’s colour patterns – the Y here indicates a 20-80% white fluke. The number at the end tells us that Scratchy is the 11th Y type humpback that KETA has identified.

 

 A Y type fluke is 20-80% white - hence Scratchy's code name, KE Y 0011. Photo by Val Watson

A Y type fluke is 20-80% white - hence Scratchy's code name, KEY0011. Photo by Val Watson

Scratchy was first identified in October 2017, presumably at the beginning of its long journey down to the breeding grounds found along the coasts of Hawaii and Mexico. It’s very exciting to see familiar faces (or in our case, familiar flukes!) and we’ve made sure to pass on our sighting information to KETA. Welcome back Scratchy!

 Rear view of a humpback whale's tiny dorsal fin. Photo by Val Watson

Rear view of a humpback whale's tiny dorsal fin. Photo by Val Watson

Jilann LechnerComment