September 12th - Spending the day with humpbacks "Slide" and "Graze"

Conditions were wonderful today as we searched for whales in our area. The waters were flat calm and without the blazing sun, we were comfortable and cozy in our anti-exposure suits on board the open vessels. Cascadia left in the morning and stopped off at Entrance Island to see a lot of adorable harbour seals hauled out on the rocky shores. There were two large groups of them on the rocks, very curious constantly keeping their gaze on us and with a few in the waters they would swim right near the vessel.

 Habour seal haul-out! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Habour seal haul-out! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

As we left Entrance Island we travelled southeast through the Georgia Strait where we saw a blow in the distance. Our captain altered course and headed towards the blow, a humpback was nearby! We were able to watch a few deep dives from the humpback, allowing us to get a good look at it’s tail fin.

 Humpback surfaces just off the coastline. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Humpback surfaces just off the coastline. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

 Graze’s dorsal fin during a dive. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Graze’s dorsal fin during a dive. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

With our on board catalogue and camera, we were able to identify humpback BCY 0523, “Graze”. We actually just saw this same humpback the day prior! The fluke is primarily black with some white tips and rake marks, a pretty unique fluke to identify. We watched Graze fluke and slowly travel just off of Thrasher rocks and once our time was up, it was a short trip to Gabriola Reefs.

 Check out the size of this humpback! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Check out the size of this humpback! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

 Check out the rake marks on Graze’s fluke. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Check out the rake marks on Graze’s fluke. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Here, we can see the Steller Sea Lions napping on the buoy and nipping at each other when trying to protect their territory. The sea lions are quite noisy, especially compared to the seals. Steller’s have a barking or growling type of vocalization and it’s always entertaining to hear them communicate with one another.

 Steller sea lions hanging around at Gabriola Reef. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Steller sea lions hanging around at Gabriola Reef. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

In the afternoon, our vessels took to the Strait of Georgia to search for more whales and lucky for us our captain spotted a humpback just a little further south from where we were in the morning. The tall blows of a humpback coming up from the surface in the distance.

 Check out those nostrils. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Check out those nostrils. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

 Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

 Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

This time, as we watched the whale fluke, we could tell we had a different one from the morning. We were watching “Slide,” KEX0026. This humpback has a pattern on the trailing edge of its fluke that resembles a slide, giving it the nickname!

 Dorsal fin during a dive by “Slide”. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Dorsal fin during a dive by “Slide”. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

 The top part of Slide’s fluke. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

The top part of Slide’s fluke. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Humpback season has been good to us and we can’t wait for more days on the water!

 Slide going down for a deep dive! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Slide going down for a deep dive! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

 Slide surfacing during a shallow dive. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Slide surfacing during a shallow dive. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Jilann LechnerComment