Sightings Report October 21

October 21, 2014

Humpback peak season is still in full swing! Today was all about our giant cetaceans!

I had a little vacation this weekend, and wouldn’t you know it, we had some of the best sightings of the year! We had transient killer whales investigating Ocean Magic II, humpbacks breaching, and yesterday we watched members of L-pod!

Today the killer whales seem to have left the area, but the humpbacks flooded in to take their place. They were all over the place and being super social!

Humpbacks are not social whales like orcas. They generally travel alone, although occasionally join up into feeding groups, and of course congregate in large numbers in their breeding grounds. But it’s always a treat for us to see multiple humpbacks together, and today there was hardly a lone humpback to be found!

Mark took out his zodiac at 12pm and Jeff, Matt and I joined him on Ocean Magic II at 12:15pm. We both zipped south from the waterfront in search of humpbacks and found them instantly! Two here, two over there, three over there. Blows everywhere! The water looked like it was steaming.

We like to show our passengers as many different whales as possible so we zipped around to several different groups. Jeff estimated there were at least 12 whales in the immediate area! All the whales were behaving differently; we had some doing long dives and showing off their flukes. Others staying much longer at the surface, but keeping their flukes hidden.

The flukes we did spot revealed a few newcomers to the area! Not all of our seasonal visitors are documented, so it’s always a thrill to stumble upon a humpback checking out the Juan de Fuca Strait for potentially the first time. Mark got some good shots and will confirm these ID’s.

Then it was on to Secretary Island to spy a bald eagle in the treetops, and two great blue herons in the shallows on the way back to Race Rocks. All four pinniped species are back! The Elephant seals returned to the rocks today along with Steller sea lions, California sea lions, and Pacific Harbour seals.

Another spectacular fall day on the water. You’ve won’t believe the colours until you see them from the water. Only 10 more days until Ocean Magic II is done! Check our Twitter and Facebook for 10 daily whale facts to say farewell for another season.

By Jennifer Dickson