Written by: Jake, Senior Naturalist
This past week has been absolutely incredible for our Humpback sightings. We’ve had multiple encounters with multiple different whales around the area. Our sightings have included Titan, Scratchy, Merlin, and my personal favorite, Scuttle.
As we wrote about in a blog from last season (Recognizing Your Favourite Whale), we can identify these whales using their “Fluke Patterns”, a natural pattern that forms on the bottom of the animals tail fin. As I say on my tours “Every Humpback has a Fluke Pattern, but none of them have the same pattern as another”. Let’s take a look at the Fluke Patterns of the whales mentioned above.
Merlin – Merlin has a gorgeous fluke (which honestly, all of them do), but Merlins is special in a way that some flukes are white with black patterns, or black with white patterns, but Merlin seems to have a good balance of both colors as its base. In Merlins case however, we can also easily identify him through his Dorsal Fin, which has a white spot on either side.
Titan – In Titan’s case, he has a white based fluke with black patterns scattered around. On his left fluke, he has two lines that form the letter T turned on its side, which is where his name comes from.
Scratchy – Scratchy and Titan have actually been seen hanging out together for a couple days straight. In Scratchy’s case (and Scuttles as well, read below) we use something other than his natural Fluke Pattern to identify him. Scratchy, at one point in his life, may have been attacked by Orcas, which have left permanent scarring called “Rake Marks” on the tips of his tail fin. Usually when we see this whale, that’s how we instantly recognize this whale.
Scuttle – Just like Scratchy, Scuttle has a set of Scars on both the top and bottom of his tail flukes, as well as a divot in his right fluke that might also be damage from an Orca Attack. Scuttle’s condition is far more noticeable than Scratchy, as the scars are all over the tail instead of just the tips. Scuttle is slightly more unique, in that he also has 6 lines (also scars) on the right side of his back. Multiple times this week I’ve been able to identify Scuttle just through his back scars before even seeing his tail.
These are just a few of the whales we’ve seen this past week, honorable mentions include Helter-Skelter, Frankenstein, Trident, and Hemlock!
It’s always very exciting to tell our guests on board that yes, we’re looking at a Humpback Whale, but also very exciting to be able to tell them the name of the whale. It helps us give the whales a sense of identity, and allows us to describe each whale’s personality as we get to know them more!!
Book a tour with us today to test your ID skills!