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Victoria Whale Watching Report: Zephyr the Humpback Whale and Race Rocks!

August 24, 2020

Monday, August 24, 2020 – 12:00pm Covered Vessel Tour

On this beautiful sunny day, we departed Victoria Harbour into the glass calm Juan de Fuca Strait. Not 20 minutes later, we could see the 20 ft blow of a humpback whale! After watching this 50 ft long, 50 ton giant surface a little closer, we were able to identify it as a 9 year old female named Zephyr (alphanumeric name: MMZ0004). Luckily, she is easily identified by a white mark on the right side of her dorsal fin, because she went many surfacing cycles without showing her tail fluke. The fluke is usually the easiest means of identifying an individual humpback whale. Seeing Zephyr was a real treat because we know quite a lot of her history. She was born in 2011 to a whale named Divot (BCY1057), and has been documented every year since. Last year, at 8 years old, Zephyr had her first calf, which also confirmed for the first time that Divot is a grandmother! The more we see individual whales, the more we learn their individual quirks, and we happen to know that Zephyr does not show her fluke as often as most other adult humpback whales. She demonstrated this for us today, only doing two fluking dives within 30 minutes!

After leaving Zephyr, we went to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. Here, we saw Steller and California sea lions (both equally noisy and smelly!) and harbour seals – all on the menu for the mammal-eating ecotype of killer whales, called the Bigg’s or Transient killer whale. We also saw many species of marine birds including pigeon guillemots, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, and various species of gull!

We left Race Rocks and enjoyed the smooth ride home, with the stunning Olympic Mountains at our backs.

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