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Morning

It was a pleasant morning out on the water. The conditions were flat and sunny, can’t really ask for more! We traveled south and west past Race Rocks where we caught up with two Humpback whales. They were travelling so close together it was easy to imagine that underneath the water they were a mesh of fins and flukes.

Pair of humpback whales
A pair of Humpback Whales. Photo by Naturalist Emma. Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We traveled further south and caught up with another Humpback whale just in time to see it fluke it’s tail and head down for a deep dive. The morning was rounded off with a trip to Race Rocks where Harbour Seals “galumphed” on rocks and California & Steller Sea Lions bickered at the each other, in respective barks and growls. A successful morning!

Sea Lions
Sea Lions at Race Rocks. Photo by Naturalist Emma. Image taken with a zoom lens and heavily cropped.

Afternoon

From our morning tour we were keen to catch up with the Humpback whales we knew were in the area. We headed west, rounded William Head and past Beecher Bay before venturing deeper into the Straight of Juan de Fuca. Here we found two Humpback whales, moving very slowly and close to the surface, then suddenly the party started!

Humpback splash
The splash from the breach. Photo by Naturalist Emma. Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

One of the whales jumped out of the water with a rear end breach, its tail making a huge splash as it twisted back to the surface. After it landed it began tail slapping the water consistently, followed by raising its large pectoral fin and hitting that on the surface too! We were beginning to wonder what all the commotion was when we saw a distant blow of a fellow Humpback whale in the distance, the show-off whale was most likely communicating with this individual further away.

Humpback breach
Humpback Whale does a breach (jump). Photo by Naturalist Emma. Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

The pair moved to the South and then one of them leaped completely out of the water, headfirst this time. It then did it again and again! This extravagant gesture appeared to do the trick and before we knew it two Humpbacks had become three. They all celebrated this reunion by collectively sticking their pectoral fins up in the air and rolling on their backs. The three Humpback whales continued to frolic as we peeled away from them. Before heading for home, we made a pit stop at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve to find that the Steller and California Sea Lions where very energetic too.

Sea Lions swimming
Sea Lions Swimming. Photo by Naturalist Emma. Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

A big group were swimming in the water, occasionally popping their head out to see what was going on around them. Harbour Seals were hauled out on the rocks in a relaxed style as well. A once in a lifetime viewing of Humpback whales followed by a vibrant Race Rocks was definitely a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

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