June 19, 2017

New Humpbacks Spotted in the San Juan Islands!

[2017/06/19 ~ M/V Kestrel, 1000 and 1400 departures]

It was humpback mania in the Salish Sea today. Not only did the M/V Kestrel see four different humpbacks, but our other vessels also humpbacks! Altogether, we estimate that San Juan Safaris saw six different humpbacks today. That may not sound like much, but the Salish Sea is home to a relatively small population of humpbacks, estimated at 45 individuals last year. So, really, we saw 11% of our humpback whale population today. That's quite something!

In only 2000, humpback whales were at an estimated abundance of 0. That's right, not a single humpback whale. It wasn't until a female, now nicknamed Big Mama, started bringing calves into these waters that there was any hope at all for population recovery. Our population is rebounding now due to mothers like Big Mama bringing their calves in to our waters, where they will return every year for the rest of their lives and hopefully bring their own calves. Another source of humpback whales for us is passerby's on their way up to and away from Alaska (a much larger feeding ground for their kind). Along with three identified whales and regular visitors (Heather, Divot, and Split Fin), we also encountered two unknown whales to the area. How exciting!

Hopefully we'll see more of these unidentified individuals in our waters in the weeks to come and will be able to get an idea of who they are and why they're here, but for now, we're just grateful for their presence and the roll they're playing in increasing our local humpback whale population!

Not only did we see this amazing whales, we also spotted some feral goats on Saturna Island. Who knew, you come out for a whale watch and get some bonus goats as well!