Resident Orcas and Amazing Humpback Encounter
August 24, 2016
Today was a beautiful sunny day spent searching for whales on glassy calm waters out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Our morning trip journeyed west along the shoreline of Sooke to catch up with a group of our resident killer whales who were on their way out to the open Pacific in search of salmon to eat. We encountered members of both J and K pods. Our guests were treated to an especially close view of J47 Notch who is a young male with a very distinctive square notch in the middle of his dorsal fin. We also got to see a killer whale jump high into the sky in a full breach!
Out afternoon trip traveled south into the Strait searching for Humpback whales – and did we ever luck out! We found a single Humpback whale (later identified as CS631 aka Two-Spot) who was feeling very social and with no other whales in the area decided to come to socialize with our boats. What happened next was a very rare occurrence in whale watching called mugging where a whale swims right up to the boat and then sticks around swimming around and underneath the boat and interacting with the vessel in a very social manner. This Humpback whale spent time socializing with all of the boats that were watching it. At one point she rolled onto her side to look at the passengers with her big eye before flipping onto her back and swimming underneath the boat giving everyone a great view of her ventral pleats, belly and the underside of the tail flukes. We can identify the individual humpback whales based on patterns on the underside of their flukes and Two-Spot is identified by – you guessed it – two spots on her right fluke. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience to see such a massive and graceful animal so close up!