June 14, 2022

Humpback Whales in the Strait of Georgia

June 14, 2022

Abby Dahl

12:30pm Osprey

We took off out of the harbor, rumors of two humpback whales to the north. We zipped through San Juan Channel towards Boundary Pass, harbor seals and harbor porpoise ducking under the water in the distance. It was a clear day, visibility several miles in all directions.

Once we turned into the Strait of Georgia, we saw the humpbacks, identified as:

Divot (Female, born in 2003 to “Big Mama”)

Orion (Juvenile, birth year unknown)

As we watched them breathe, I stood on the bow, camera in hand, answering questions and recounting prior experiences with these extraordinary beings. Then, a fluke-up dive.

“Okay, folks, we just saw the fluke which means this whale is on a deep dive. It may be five or ten minutes before we see them surfacing again…” I was cut off before realizing what was happening in front of us.

Breach. Another. And another. Just 150 meters from the boat. They looked like submarines making an emergency ascent, large beings jumping out of the water effortlessly, as if to have a glimpse into the oxygenated world at the surface.

And of course, here I am thinking they are going on a deep dive… It just goes to show that when you think one thing is going to happen, the opposite occurs. So is the truth with wild animals.

As per the usual, I had to write a quick haiku to commemorate the trip in my naturalist journal:

Humpback whales breach high

A thud, a whoosh, an “oh my…”

How did we stay dry?