May 3, 2022

Humpback Whale “Big Mama” and her breaching calf!

Lauren | M/V Sea Lion | 5.3.2022 | 12:30 PM

M/V Sea Lion had a small group today, only 9 passengers were aboard as we puttered out of Friday Harbor. I was beyond delighted to hear that the infamous “Big Mama” was back in the Salish Sea, and that we may see her out on our trip today. Seeing “Big Mama” is a treat in itself, but we got some exciting news yesterday… “Big Mama” was not only back in town, but she had a new calf with her!

Once we got word that “Big Mama” and calf were picked up near Saturna Island, we decided to head straight there. As we came up on Java Rocks, a formation just south of Saturna, we decided to slow down, as Java is a known wildlife hotspot. We got wonderful looks at some harbor seals, and a few black oystercatchers, before meeting up with the humpbacks.

As we slowly approached the scene, we were immediately greeted by this playful newborn. We witnessed this calf leap out of the water several times in just the first few minutes. As you can imagine, I was absolutely elated! This was my first experience with a humpback whale calf and to see it breach was a truly beautiful moment. We stuck with this mom and calf pair for most of our trip, witnessing many fluke dives, tail lobs and even a few more baby breaches. On our way back to Friday Harbor we stopped to view some Steller’s sea lions hauled out on Green Point.

What a way to kickoff our peak season! Hopefully we see many more humpbacks in the coming weeks, as these whales make their migration north.