July 17th - Humpbacks travelling through the Southern Gulf Islands

Today was another beautiful day to be out on the boat in search of whales! Our guests boarded our open boat, Cascadia, and set off on their route through the Southern Gulf Islands. After passing through Dodd's Narrows, the channel of water in between Vancouver Island and Mudge Island, our captain James set his sights on Porlier Pass. 

 Humpback blow lingering in the air! Photo by Val Watson

Humpback blow lingering in the air! Photo by Val Watson

It was just at the entrance of Porlier that we saw the large blow, a clear sign of a humpback! Their blows can reach to a magnificent height of 12 ft and lingers in the air for a bit of time. Making it a key marker for the humpback and providing the guests with idea of where to look next for the little dorsal fin that will surface shortly afterwards. The humpback was engaging in some deep, long dives, and with reports of more humpbacks on the other side of the pass we decided to check them out as well.

 A great picture of a humpback whale lunging forward. You can see right up her nose! Photo by Jenna Keen

A great picture of a humpback whale lunging forward. You can see right up her nose! Photo by Jenna Keen

On the other side of the pass and just south, off the coast of Galiano Island, we were greeted by 2 more humpbacks. One was identified as Quattro (also goes by the name "Heather"). She's been seen more recently in the Salish Sea here and we are always excited to see her! With a fluke (tail) that is primarily black and white colouration on the edges, Heather is classified as a "BCY" humpback, the Y denoting a fluke with 20-80% white on it. 

 Heather showing off her fluke! Note those white markings at the edges. Photo by Jenna Keen

Heather showing off her fluke! Note those white markings at the edges. Photo by Jenna Keen

Finding two humpbacks travelling together is always an amazing experience, and it gets even better when they do a surface together.  

 Duel surface of the humpback off of Galiano Island. Photo by Jenna Keen.

Duel surface of the humpback off of Galiano Island. Photo by Jenna Keen.

The afternoon trip also got to spend some time with humpback whales. Before getting to the whales they were lucky enough to spend some time with the sea lions at entrance island. Although most of the sea lions have migrated up north some have remained behind and continue to be a guest favourite. They haul-out in large numbers at Entrance and usually put on a show having squabbles amongst themselves. 

 Steller Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks at Entrance Island. Photo by Val Watson.

Steller Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks at Entrance Island. Photo by Val Watson.

After leaving the sea lions they travelled towards a report of humpbacks close to home, travelling north along the coast of Valdes Island. Again we found two humpbacks travelling together and doing long feeding dives along the shoreline. One larger whale was showing off their fluke with every dive while the smaller didn't fluke at all. 

 The huge fluke of Slate coming up out of the water. Photo by Val Watson.

The huge fluke of Slate coming up out of the water. Photo by Val Watson.

The whales continued along Valdes until getting to the Gabriola Pass where we thought they might pass through but last minute they turned around and continued back into Pylades Channel.

 Slate diving down for food again. Photo by Val Watson.

Slate diving down for food again. Photo by Val Watson.

The whale count for the day was an astounding 5 humpbacks!  With these animals still recovering from their populations being decreased by whaling its great to see so many of them back in the Salish Sea! We love being able to go out and see more and more of these beautiful animals.  

 Final fluke from Slate waving goodbye! Photo by Val Watson

Final fluke from Slate waving goodbye! Photo by Val Watson

Jilann LechnerComment