May 8, 2022

A Mother’s Day Celebration with Humpback Whale “Big Mama”

Lauren | M/V Sea Lion | 5.8.2022 | 12:30 PM
It was beautiful out on this Mother’s Day morning, with sunny skies and calm seas. We left Friday Harbor with no set plan but with knowledge of a humpback whale to the north, near Mayne Island. Although doable on M/V Sea Lion, a trip to Mayne is quite the haul, and the humpback was heading even further northwest. We decided to go for it, but had our fingers crossed that some other marine mammal would pop up along the way.  
As our adventure continued, we stopped at Green Point to view some Steller’s sea lions, and a bald eagle perched at the top of a tree. Just as we began to trend northwest, we got a report that a humpback mom and calf pair were picked up near Patos Island Talk about good timing! 
We changed our course and headed northeast to go say hello to this humpback mama on Mother’s Day! Once on scene we realized that this mom and calf pair were none other than “Big Mama” and her newest little babe! We’ve seen quite a bit of this playful pair this week, and thanks to the Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) we now know that the calf is a boy!  
To tell if a humpback whale is a male or a female, you’ll have to get a photo of its underside. This isn’t an easy task ahumpback surface behaviors aren’t always a common sight. Good thing young whales are often curious and exuberant! To identify the sex of a humpback, you need to look for two things, mammary slits, and a hemispherical lobe. If these are presentyou know that whale is a female!   
What a serendipitous encounter we had todayHappy Mother’s Day to Big Mama, and to all the deserving mothers out there!