Victoria Whale Watching Report: Humpback Whales & Race Rocks Ecological Reserve!
October 1, 2019
Calm waters greeted us as we entered the Juan de Fuca Strait. We had two of our large vessels on the water, the Orca Spirit and the Catalina Adventure. As we moved towards the Olympic Mountains of Washington, we spotted the smokey-like plumes of mist that explode above the water as a humpback exhales!
We slowly moved over to the area and waited patiently for the whale to resurface. We had two humpbacks together! We got a chance to capture some shots of their flukes, where unique shapes and colour patterns allow us to identify each individual. Elf was easy to pick out, but the second whale is a newcomer to our area because he or she is not in our local ID catalog.
Humpbacks are often swimming solo unless we see a mother and her precious calf. But food attracts the masses and humpbacks are very social animals. So it is not uncommon to see these creatures of the deep make friends with other members of their species! They continued to surface side-by-side and then diving for longer periods of time, likely catching krill or fish in the depths below.
We then went to check out Race Rocks Lighthouse. The lighthouse itself has an upcoming holiday time birthday! It was first functional on December 26th of 1860. It still operates today, casting a light in the dark and sounding a horn in the fog. Steller and California Sea Lions love the islets around Race Rocks. They warm up in the sun and frolic in the turbulent waters. Harbour Seals also enjoy this area to haul out on. Mothers give birth here in June and July and nurse their babies on the safe shorelines. It is a wonderful place in the middle of the Juan de Fuca Strait. It was time to head back to port, time flies when you are enjoying the sights and sounds of the Salish Sea wildlife.