April 12, 2022

A Humpback Whale Surrounded by Bigg's Killer Whales in the Strait of Georgia

Humpback Whale in the Strait of Georgia

Olivia | April 12th, 2022 | M/V Sea Lion | 12:30pm

But wait, did we just witness history in the Salish Sea?

Captain Brian and I caught word of three families of Bigg’s Killer Whales north in the Strait of Georgia. Leaving the harbor, we debated if we could make it there and back in our allotted tour time, with how far away they were moving. It didn’t take us long to decide to go there once we heard there was a Humpback Whale not too far away. To Georgeson Pass we went!

Coming out of the narrow pass, the previous vessel on scene had to depart, and it was up to us to find these whales. It wasn’t too long before we began spotting black dorsal fins and small spouts. But wait, was that a big Humpback Whale blow right in the middle of the orcas? It couldn’t be… could it?

It was! BCX1773 “Valiant” was surrounded by three orca families including the T065B’s, T034’s, and T037’s! Since this Humpback Whale, born in 2017, has a history of chasing off orcas, Brian and I started side eyeing one another as the amount of trumpeting [a noise the Humpback Whale releases through their blow whole- often associated with aggression or tension] started to increase.

But wait.

Valiant started slowing swimming on its side and lifting its pectoral fin out of the water. Shortly after, this large baleen whale was casually fluking and bringing that tail gracefully back into the water. Meanwhile, the orcas were nonchalantly swimming around- it was as if they were all at ease hanging out. Was this socialization instead of agitation? After Valiant elegantly swam off, the Bigg’s Killer Whales stayed and continued the same socializing behaviors.

This encounter left us with more questions than answers and was hard not to be excited about it. Once news outlets caught wind of this unique encounter, everyone was wondering what we experienced, leaving our entire area waiting to see what happens next. We love all the small moments and the big moments out here in the Salish Sea. With continued changes, we are anxious to be out on the water daily and watching how it unfolds.

But wait, are you willing to come see for yourself? Join us out on the water and let us share with you how we are continually playing our part in education, conservation, and spreading awareness of our beloved marine life.