May 26th - Whale Research Trip with Keta Conservation is a Giant Success!
We were thrilled to host our first Whale Research Tour on Saturday, and the trip couldn't have gone better! We were fortunate enough to find orcas in the morning, and during the humpback research portion we found "Anvil" the humpback whale! The Keta team was able to collect data and ID photographs of "Anvil" as well as discuss humpback conservation and biology with our guests.
After leaving the dock we began our trip with a cruise south toward Saltspring island where we caught up with the T101 family (a mother and her three sons) traveling stealthily northward.
We watched as the family of four quietly spread out across the channel moving slowly North, perhaps in search of a seal or sea lion. Orcas use sound to locate their prey, and we think the T101 family may have been emitting high-frequency echolocation "clicks" underwater as they silently moved past us.
Next, we crossed the Strait of Georgia, where Keta researchers collected data and ID photos of a humpback whale known as "Anvil". Markings on the underside of the fluke are used to identify individual humpbacks, and "Anvil" wasn't fluking much, but expert photographer Natalie Reichenbacher was able to snap a photo that confirmed the whale was indeed "Anvil".
One of Keta's research goals is to determine how humpback whales like "Anvil" are using the Salish Sea, including their diet, and potential feeding hotspots. These "Urban whales" are especially vulnerable to ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear, and understanding their diet and small-scale movements could help us to mitigate some of the threats they face while summering in The busy Salish Sea.
All-in-all this was an extraordinary day at sea, packed with both wildlife and information! All proceeds from this tour were donated directly to Keta's conservation initiatives.
Feel free to get in touch with us if you'd like to join our next exclusive Whale Research Tour.