Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
August 8, 2011
Today was a lovely day to be out on the water! By the afternoon the sun was shining, and thanks to a flood tide, the waters were really calm. Our boat aimed for the Hein Bank area, a section of water that is known for rich nutrient upwellings from deep below the surface, which attract a number of animal species from birds to fish to whales. Our guests were delighted to spot a tall spout coming from the 2-holed blow hole of a humpback whale! This is an awesome treat as humpbacks are only spotted in the region a few times in the spring, then more frequently in the fall months. This may just be the first trip of the season where we have humpbacks stopping in for some last-minute feeding and resting before they make their long journey to Hawaii.
Humpbacks return to warm waters to give birth to calves and breed. The males serenade the ladies with complex songs that can last for over two days! Impressive! Then these animals make the long journey back to Alaska to feed on the bountiful krill and herring that hatch in astronomical numbers. The whales gain around 17 tons while they are feeding in the summer months, thickening up their blubber layer to survive the long journey to Hawaii and back, where they do not feed along the way. The humpback we were so lucky to watch was a large adult, approximately 40 tons in weight and about 45 feet long. Humpbacks feed by extending their rubbery throat pleats that run from the tip of their mouth to their naval…two thirds the length of their body! Wow is all you can say! We saw many surfaces in a row, followed by beautiful tail flukes in the air. It was a smooth ride back to Victoria, as we all enjoyed the sunny weather and pictures of the amazing humpback we encountered.