On Tuesday morning we left the harbour in the Victoria sunshine. We headed south to the shallow area known as the “Rock Pile” adjacent to Washington State mainland. We were soon in a sandwich of Humpback whale blows: left, right and behind us. Focusing on the one found to our left, we watched it fluke it’s tail and majestically go for dives.
The sea conditions were a little lumpy but this worked to our advantage as the whale appeared to be lifting its head higher out of the water than usual, perhaps trying to get a spray-free breath. It gave us all a great look at the knobbly tubercles found on top of its head. These tubercles contain hairs that are remnants of this animal’s evolution from a land mammal, once upon a time, and they can pick up vibrations in the ocean. Very useful for catching fish! A wonderful Humpback viewing experience.
Heading out in the afternoon, we were keen to build on the previous success of the morning and catch up with a Humpback whale. Again we retraced our steps and found ourselves South and slightly East of Victoria with Washington State in the background. We were in luck: a solo Humpback was going about its daily feed and flicked its tail high enough out of the water for us to identify it as “Scratchy”.
This Humpback whale is a Salish Sea local and it certainly seemed pleased to see us. It consistently began slapping the water with its pectoral fin. It is a common behavior for Humpback whales to perform once, or perhaps twice, but not in quick succession for several minutes. It was captivating to watch and something all of the crew members agreed they had never seen before. The bright white of the pectoral fin’s underside was a stark contrast to the dark grey of the dorsal side, most often seen with a surfacing Humpback whale. The large splash it made when it’s fin connected with the ocean surface was a reminder of this animal’s impressive size and strength. A day all on board will remember forever!
If you would like to see more photo’s please visit our Facebook album.