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Victoria Whale Watching Report: The Return of the Humpbacks!

June 25, 2021

Sunday, June 20th- 12pm Tour

It was a perfect day to be on the water surrounding south Vancouver Island! We headed out on the Orca Mist to look for the abundant wildlife that call the Salish Sea home. We made our way southwest when we saw the spouts of a Humpback Whale! This young creature of the deep turned out to be Poptart, one of Big Mama’s calves! Big Mama was the first Humpback recorded returning to the Salish Sea in the mid 1990’s after decades of no humpbacks here due to the long-lasting effects of the whaling era.

Poptart was making good time, moving west in the Juan de Fuca Strait. We were able to get some good fluking shots and some of us even got to see the breach!  It was a massive splash and a big surprise! After checking out some sport fishers holding up their prized catch of Halibut, we made our way towards Race Rocks Lighthouse.

Race Rocks Lighthouse is home to dozens and dozens of Harbour Seals. Today we spotted our first mother and calf pair of the pupping season! Mom was a cream colour while her new baby had a silver coat. We captured the little one nursing while a large group of other Harbour Seals, basked in the warm sun on the rocks.

We circled to the south side of the islands where we spotted two juvenile Steller Sea Lions. All the adult males who reside at Race Rocks for 10 months of the year, are currently away visiting the female rookeries for the mating season. After some great time spent at the historical lighthouse, we headed back east where we found another Humpback named Smiley!  Smiley was not shy away showing us her flukes so that we could get some great ID shots! We will submit the photos of their tales to Happy Whale and other research organizations in both Canada and Washington to help with Humpback conservation and research.

Another day, another wonderful afternoon on the salty waters of the Salish Sea!

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