Whale watching safaris from the lodge this summer saw allot of activity from the humpback whales. Most days there were more than a dozen whales in the area of Bold Head on Blackfish Sound which is adjacent to Johnstone Strait and Vancouver Island on BC’s coast. There were two families of mother and calf in the area and the calves were very active. In this photo the calf was quite close and spent time throwing it’s back half of its body sideways out of the water. It would come up with it’s upper body part way out of the water and then throw it’s back half up and to the side. This was a repeat performance going on for the better part of five minutes with a rest and then trying again. From my searching scientists aren’t sure if this breaching behaviour serves some purpose, such as cleaning pests from the whale’s skin, or whether whales simply do it for fun.
The last 3 years we have been starting to view sea otters in our area more regularly. They are still often a distance away, but the sightings are increasing with some “rafts” of them developing in areas near the western portion of our whale watching trips. These animals were hunted heavily for their fur and were completely wiped out of British Columbia waters. Re-introduction occurred from Alaskan otters in the 1960’s. They have long been protected and their numbers have been steadily increasing along the exposed BC coast and are now moving back into inside waters. They are unique in that they don’t have the insulating blubber that other marine mammals use to keep warm. As a result they have dense (over 1 million hairs per square inch) fur and feed heavily. They are important in balancing the eco-system. They eat a lot of sea urchins, which eat a lot of kelp. Kelp is extremely important as it provides cover for juvenile fish and is where the herring spawn in the early spring. With the increase in these otters we are seeing a greater abundance and healthier kelp forests.Visit our Blog