Captain’s Blog

Victoria Whale Watching Report: West Coast Lighthouses, and 50+ Humpback Whales!

August 23, 2020

Sunday, August 23rd, 2020 – 12pm Covered Vessel Tour

August has been a great month to see all kinds of marine wildlife that use the Salish Sea as their home. Of all the whale species that we commonly see, the Humpback Whale is the largest of them all! As a member of the Pacific Whale Watch Association, we work as a team on the water with all the other companies to search for whales. Today all reports were coming from far west of Victoria as dozens and dozens of humpbacks were spotted feasting in the Juan de Fuca Strait.

It was a long haul to get to the whales, but fortunately, the seas were relatively calm with only a bit of swell, and the surrounding scenery of rugged mountains and coastal forests made for a beautiful ride out. We passed three lighthouses on the way to the whales- Fisgard, Race Rocks, and Sheringham Lighthouses are all historical sites that guide ships passing in the fog and darkness. Once we got to the location where Humpbacks were reported, it only took a minute or two to start spotting blows in every direction! There were at least 50 Humpbacks surfacing both near and far. We saw several different groups traveling together, one with 5 whales surfacing side-by-side! A whale that is up to 52 feet long and weighing around 40 tons is impressive by itself, let alone 5 of them together!

We observed them with the boat shut down so that we could hear them breathe and make sure we were being quiet while they foraged for krill and small fish. These whales are bulking up for the coming migration to Mexico, Hawaii or Costa Rica when they will no longer have abundant food to eat, but thousands of miles to swim. We got to see some beautiful flukes and even good views of their giant nostrils that sit atop their heads. A mom and calf were among one of the groups which are always special to see as the mother teaches her calf all the secrets of the ocean and how to be a Humpback.

After a wonderful visit with so many Humpbacks, we needed to start our long journey back to Victoria. Calm seas carried us home and so too did the new memories of gentle giants foraging in the deep waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait. Don’t forget to check out some great photos we posted to our Flickr page for this trip!

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