August 15, 2021

Humpback Mama, Divot, Traveling with her Calf

Humpback Whale showing tail before diving for food

Haleigh | M/V Kestrel | August 15, 2021 | 2:00pm


As we loaded M/V Kestrel and shoved off there was excitement in the air - the search for whales had begun! We headed north towards Canadian waters, and although we expected choppy waters we had nothing but smooth sailing. The puffy white clouds reflected down in the glassy waters as we skimmed along in the zodiac.


We headed into the Strait of Georgia near Point Roberts, at the very tip of US waters. Then, in the distance, we saw a huge exhale, and next to it a smaller blow! The column of water vapor blown out by a humpback can reach 12-20 feet above the water, giving whale watchers a useful sign to track them from afar. The smaller spout also gave us a clue, there was likely a baby travelling as well!


We approached the humpback pair and settled in, as they surfaced to breath a few times before descending on a dive. Although humpback whales can stay underwater as long as 45 minutes, we luckily didn’t have to wait that long as they tended to resurface every minute or two in a new area. One time after a long dive they even popped up right near our boat, and we all could hear the power of their big lungs exhaling. This pair was identified as a mom, Divot, and her calf who was probably born in January in Hawaii.


As our time with the whales came to an end we made a stop to admire our local pinnipeds, the harbor seal and Steller's sea lions, sunning themselves on a rocky island. Arriving back in Friday Harbor we were thrilled to have been given a little glimpse into the lives of the enormous, intelligent animals who make their summer home in these waters. With any luck we will see this calf return for many years to the waters where its mother brought it to feed, and maybe one day it will bring a calf of its own.