June 19, 2017 – Mother and Calf Humpbacks
June 19, 2017
Today was an amazing day with humpback whales. Humpbacks are graceful giants of the Salish Sea and they are here to feed. Lucky for us, the waters surrounding Vancouver Island are full of whale food like small forage fish and krill, which is exactly what the humpbacks want! This morning we headed out to a place we call “the rock pile”. This is a popular place for humpbacks to hang out and we were in luck! We spent the morning tour with 4 whales all around the boat and even encountered a young one! The young calves are still learning how to properly feed and often we can see their whole head come out of the water when they come up to breathe.
This afternoon the humpbacks had shifted their feeding strategy and were lunge feeding. Lunge feeding is an effective way to take in a large quantity of whale food like small fish or krill all in one motion. The whales come up either from below a group of food or skim across the surface of the water. This gives any boats around a phenomenal view of the inside of their mouths including their baleen plates! Full grown humpbacks can take in 20 000L of water with just one mouthful, so they can expand their throats like an accordion to make feeding even more successful. We had the pleasure of watching a calf attempt to lunge feed next to it’s mother! Because this little guy was so small, he was really only chin slapping the surface most of the time. Practice makes perfect, good try little calf! What a neat opportunity to see some of the largest animals on our coast do extraordinary behaviors. You never know what you’ll see out on the water!