June 11, 2021
The Wildest Humpback Whale Day; Mum and Calf Active in Strait of Georgia
Olivia | M/V Osprey | June 11th, 2021 | 12:30pm
Let me preface this blog with saying: This was the BEST HUMPBACK WHALE EXPERIENCE OF MY ENTIRE LIFE.
We love the fact that more and more baleen whales are returning to these waters year after year and coming back with their young calves, who in turn return the following year as well. Once heavily whaled out of this area, it took a long time (this most recent decade, in fact) for these whales to start returning to our waters to feed. One of the Humpback Whales we saw last week, BCX1057 “Divot”, is still traveling around the Strait of Georgia with this year’s calf and today we had the pleasure of seeing a crazy learning moment unfold right before our eyes.
With not a lot of boats out on the water due to crazy weather (high winds, big swells, lots of chop, and tons of rain) we were blindly following up on a report of these Humpback Whales where no boats currently were. Trying as hard as we possibly could to give our guests the best opportunity to see whales, we went into heavy search mode in all the gray of the Salish Sea, far north in U.S waters. Captain Gabe spotted the first spout 2 miles in the distance and almost immediately when we got on scene, we saw the first of MANY full body breaches.
List of behaviors we witnessed: full body breaching, lobtailing, peduncle throws, pectoral fin-slapping, tail-slapping, cartwheeling, and chin slapping.
These behaviors were not just one and done by one of the whales, it was 40 minutes of non-stop everything by both the mum AND calf! At one point we had the calf at our port about 150yards away, whereas mum was 120 yards at our starboard. We did not know where to look, there was SO much excited chaos!
This behavior was unlike anything I have ever witnessed in these waters, and not anything we expect to see on our trips. With that, I truly believe we caught a fun, interactive learning moment from mum and calf. Mum displaying a behavior, and calf practicing it repeatedly. These learned behaviors get passed down to their young and replicated for the rest of their lives- and passed down again. We happened to be in the right moment at the right time watching history unfold for the lives of these Humpback Whales. After being unsure if we would be able to find a while at all with the weather conditions and fewer boats out searching, this day turned into one I will never forget as long as I live. Funny how the most unexpected can take your breath away.