Sightings Report October 8

October 8, 2014

It’s only fitting that we should find more humpback whales on Hump Day!

We had some tricky conditions again this morning in the fog but rest assured, if there’s whales out there, we will find them!

First out at was Mark on a 10am zodiac, followed by Rush at 12pm and Jeffmyself and Matt on Ocean Magic II at 3:30pm. We all caught up with the same pair of humpback whales hanging out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Now I’ve been talking a lot lately about how calm conditions have been. When you say “calm,” that can mean different things to difference people. But the last three days have been in a serene world of their own. Naturally some spots are more sheltered than others, and underwater topography is a factor in the smoothness of the surface water as well, but today we were sitting in the middle of the strait, arguably the least sheltered part of our range, and it was like a mirror!

As we watched the humpbacks come up to breath (a mother and calf) you could tell where they were going to break the surface moments before it happened as the water displaced by their rising bodies sent minuscule ripples to the surface. It was a magical experience.

In this eerily still water we watched mother and calf humpback diver regularly several times, doing fairly long dives. Then suddenly the mother spent 5 minutes almost stationary at the surface. She did not dive, essentially logging, or remaining just below the water. The calf was nowhere to be seen. I don’t have an explanation for this behaviour but my best guess is the calf may have been nursing!

Then, just as suddenly, they both surfaced side by side, took and breathe and dove. We used this opportunity to take our leave and went to visit Harry Otter, hanging out in the fog, but clearly visible from the boat, content as could be.

Then a stop at our favourite rocks, of the racing variety. The Steller sea lions were particularly vocal today although the California’s gave them a run for their money. The harbour seals were looking adorable as usual, and the elephant seals were indistinguishable from the rocks and did not move, also, as per usual.

We’ve got some rain and cool weather forecast for the next week, but that’s not going to stop us. Join us on Ocean Magic II and we’ll crank up the heaters and hand out hot chocolate. Or grab your winter gear and jump on a zodiac for a chilly (but adventurous) afternoon!

By Jennifer Dickson