May 22, 2018
Humpback Whale Tails
[Saturday, 5/19/18 - M/V Kestrel - 2:00PM - Naturalist Erick]
For our afternoon trip, Captain Gabe and I took Kestrel north once again. We stopped to see some great Harbor Porpoises swimming in the rips off of Green Point! Next, we headed through Boundary Pass and stopped at East Point to look at all the super cool Steller Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, and Bonaparte’s Gulls resting, swimming, and feeding in this dynamic area called Boiling Reef. We continued up north along the Belle Chains and soon came upon a very large Humpback Whale! He was swimming slowly in big circles probably eating his very large heart out. Like Humpbacks normally do in our area, he would come up to breathe a few times then fluke up lifting his giant tail before doing a longer dive. The bottom of the Humpback’s tail helps researchers identify individuals since there is a unique black and white pattern there. I’m not sure if I’m right but this one might have been ZigZag or it could have been Tempest as well. We shut down and floated with this guy for a while as he made big lazy loops in the Strait of Georgia. On one pass he came a bit closer and we could even see his tubercles on his face and the water swirling around his massive body as he made a dive. Tubercles are the bumps on the forward end of Humpback Whales' heads. They are modified hair follicles that help them feel when there are large concentrations of food around their mouths - So cool! After that there wasn’t much that could top it, so we made a quick trip back home to Friday Harbor!