Sightings Report October 23

October 23, 2014

Guess what? More humpbacks today! Between Mark’s zodiac trip at 12:30 and Ocean Magic II’s 12:15 trip with Jeff, Matt and I, we saw at least 12 different whales!

Peak humpback season is still in full swing as we approach the end of October. These guys are obviously finding some good feeding areas and filling up their stomachs before they head south. Humpback whales all over the world split their time between the high latitudes in the summer months (far north or south) and nearer the equator in the winter.

They only feed while in the feeding grounds, so they need to eat as much as they can before they head for warmer, but nutrient poor waters. This amazing migration will begin any day now, and it won’t be until July that we see these remarkable mammals again.

Conditions today were quite variable. It was raining when we left the harbour, but this stopped as soon as we got away from the land. We picked up out first humpback, what looked like Big Mama, in calm waters. She was traveling quickly; it was amazing to see the power these animals possess. She was really moving!

The few other humpbacks we encountered were moving a bit more sedately, and we more content to surface in roughly the same spot, often quite near the boat! We just sat in the waves with our engines off watching these guys pop up all around us. Doesn’t get much better than that!

We went to look for Harry again today, but he was nowhere to be found. I suspect we’ll be seeing Harry less and less now as the kelp starts to die back; his home is disintegrating around him! But fingers crossed he finds a nice winter home and returns to his post near Sooke next summer!

We did find two spectacular bald eagles nearby Harry’s usual spot however. They delighted passengers by taking flight and circling the boat before returning to perch on their favourite tree.

And of course, Race Rocks! Everything accounted for again today. All the pinnipeds in their favourite spots. Steller and California sea lions, and Harbour and Elephant seals, at your service!

Don’t forget, we’re posting an interesting fact-a-day on Facebook and Twitter to countdown Ocean Magic II’s last days on the water. Don’t worry though, she’ll be back next year! And if you want to get on the water before then, we’ve got zodiac wildlife watching tours running all winter! Reservations in advance are recommended!

By Jennifer Dickson