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It was the most amazing day on the water. We departed the Victoria Harbour with the sun shining. We knew it was going to be a great day but we could not have anticipated how great.

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale. Photo by Marine Biologist Gord. Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We ventured out into the Salish Sea heading south. There have been Humpback Whales in the area for the past week and we were hopeful we would be able to spot a blow in the distance as a clue to their current location. Soon after departing we got lucky and spotted a pair of Humpback whales. In the distance there was another pair.

Megaptera Novaengliae
Humpback Whales diving deep. Photo by Captain Yves. Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We hung out with the Humpbacks for a solid half hour. Watching them dive for 5 minutes at a time before coming back up to the surface. Before each dive the whales gave us a peek at their tail flukes. The patterns on the flukes are used to identify individual whales. Every new sighting adds to that whale’s story as sightings are shared between researchers all over the Pacific. These whales travel from warm tropical waters to our northern cold waters to feed every year. The sightings provide more information about where the whales are, who they are with, and what they are doing.

The highlight of the day came next. We saw some splashing over in the distance, further west. We went over to check it out. When we arrived we were treated to several tail slaps and lobs. The pair of humpbacks were lifting their entire back half out of the water and splashing their tails down into the water beside them. A phenomenal playful display of energy.

Humpback Pectoral Flipper
The front flipper of a Humpback Whale. They were very playful today. Photo by Captain Yves. Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

Then the unexpected happened. A humpback broke off from it’s companion and turned towards our boat. Then it disappeared. We didn’t know where the whale was or where it would pop up so we shut down our engines and just drifted. We were briefly distracted by a fin wave in the distance by the other whale! Turning our attention back to the water below us we looked for any sign of the first whale. As we looked down we could see a bright turquoise colour. The white underside of the whale’s tail appears turquoise through the green water. We could clearly see the whales tail right under the boat but it was moving under and out of view. Then we watched in awe as the Humpback whale swam from the port to the starboard side of the boat. As the whale surfaced next to us we could truly appreciated how large these animals are.

Just as quickly as it approached, the Humpback departed, showing its flukes one more time. We were so amazed, even Captain Marty had only ever seen something similar once before in his life. We sat with the engines off for a few more minutes taking it all in, reveling in the experience. What an amazing day on the water. As we made our way back to the Victoria Harbour we cruised through Race Rocks Ecological Reserve checking out the diversity the region has to offer. We saw Harbour Seals, Sea lions, and a Bald Eagle. The cherry on top of an unforgettable day on the Salish Sea.

Check out our facebook album for more photos from today’s tours.

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