It was an amazing sunny day with calm seas and light winds. We headed out in search of wildlife. We never know what we will find out there.
As we ventured south and west we came across a blow. It was the distinct blow of a Humpback Whale. We watched in awe as the whale surfaced and inhaled. The whale even showed its tail a few times: fluking for the camera. Naturalist Emma was able to get a clear photo of the whales tail or fluke. From that image we were able to compare the image to a whale tail catalog of previously identified whales. The marks on the underside of the tail are unique for each individual whale. The whale we were looking at had some distinct rake marks (tooth marks) on the left edge of the tail and a unique notch on the right hand side. From those marks and the other freckles and spots on the tail we confirmed it as “scratchy”. We have been seeing Scratchy quite a bit this season. Perhaps he enjoys feeding in our waters in the Salish Sea.
After a great encounter with Scratchy the humpback we continued on to Race Rocks Ecological reserve we we saw, harbour seals, sea lions and a sea otter. A fantastic way to end the morning search.
In the afternoon, we headed out again in search of whales, we were not sure if scratchy would still be in the same spot from the morning so we cruised through the area where he was last spotted in hopes of picking him up again. We were fortunate to find him quite quickly. We spent some time watching him. With the sun shining and the afternoon young we had a lot of time to continue our search. With one whale sighting under our belt we headed further west into some rolling ocean swells to search for something more.
Further along the coast we found a second humpback. This whale was doing long dives, perhaps venturing deeper into the underwater canyon in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
After watching the whale for a few dive cycles we left it to carry on and continue our search back towards Victoria. We had a covered a lot of ground and had to make tracks to be back home on time.
As we made our way back we had time to thoroughly explore Race Rocks Ecological reserve. This time the tide was flooding quite quickly and the standing waves and rapids made the waters surface look more like a raging river than an ocean.
Above the strong currents was a large group of sea lions. The sea lions are, at present , beginning to return to Race after being away for the last two months. Each year they leave in the early summer to go to their breeding grounds. They are charismatic creatures and we enjoyed having them back at their regular resting spot at Race Rocks.
Another great trip to cap off a great day on the water.
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