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Captain’s Blog

Victoria Whale Watching Report: Big Mama, her New Calf, and Steller Sea Lions!

May 18, 2022

Written by: Lori, Lead Naturalist

Week of: May 2nd, 2022

The beginning of May has ushered in some incredible wildlife sightings. Each encounter is completely unique in its own right, and we never know quite what to expect when we untie from the docks and leave the harbour each day. We have been unbelievably fortunate this week to see the famous humpback whale known as Big Mama, and we were even able to see her new little calf swimming beside her! With the sun shining, we caught a glimpse of some California Sea Lions lifting their flippers in unison above the water. It has been a special week indeed.

It is somewhat rare that we find ourselves off the shores of Pender Island, but this week the Orca Mist headed to Poet’s Cove for a charter trip. Just before reaching the harbour, we spotted some blows in the distance. It turned out to be the humpback whale Big Mama and her new little calf! Big Mama was one of the first humpback whales to repopulate the Salish Sea after the whaling era, and she has been feeding in our waters since 1997. We always look forward to seeing her return to the Salish Sea, but even more so when she brings a calf with her! In the coming weeks, more and more humpback whales will be returning to our cold, nutrient-rich waters to feed. We can’t wait for even more sightings.

With the sun shining upon us, and the surface of the ocean as calm as can be, we managed to spot some California Sea Lions rafting together with their flippers raised high in the air! California Sea Lions will do this in order to regulate their body temperature. Lifting and exposing their flippers above water causes their blood vessels to dilate, and they will either absorb heat or release heat to the environment. Heat that is absorbed is circulated to the rest of their body.

It has been a wonderful week of sightings, and we can’t wait to see what awaits us next week! We hope you’ll join us in experiencing the wild on one of our many whale watching tours.

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