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Victoria Whale Watching Report: Mother and Calf Bonding, and the Return of Bernard!

August 11, 2022

Written by: Lauren, Onboard Naturalist

Week of: August 1-7th

It has been a busy summer of whales and wildlife here in the Salish Sea, and this week was no different with many amazing wildlife encounters!

We kicked off the week with heartwarming visits from momma humpback Hemlock and her newest calf. We watched Hemlock teaching her young one how to lunge feed on the sea of krill at the surface of the water in the Juan de Fuca straight. It was amazing to see both whales expose their baleen plated mouths in unison as they surfaced!

The close relationship between mother humpbacks and their offspring is known to be the strongest pair bond witnessed out here in the Salish Sea, as the two are nearly inseparable! While these young ones are quite small in comparison to adult humpbacks, they are quickly putting on weight to survive in these harsh waters. Starting at an average weight of 1 tonne at birth, they will put on roughly 100 pounds a day due to their mother’s 45-60% fatty milk. Once full grown they will be an approximate 50 tonnes in weight, talk about bulking season!!

While we are in discussion about some of the larger marine mammals we have been spotting recently, I cannot forget our famous male Northern Elephant Seal Bernard! He has been spotted more frequently as of late hanging around the boat ramp at Race Rocks Lighthouse, accompanied by a few female elephant seals. It’s important to note that only the males have the long nose (proboscis), which they inflate like a balloon during mating season!

We can’t wait to welcome you on board with us. Head to our website here to book your tour to #ExperienceTheWild!

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