Australia’s Gary Wilson waited for the perfect picture, a humpback whale in front of the Steller Sealion haul out area. In this case the sealions are on their return from Alaska to California and spending a few weeks resting and replacing some of the fat used to travel this far. Large groups of sealions pass through the area in the spring and fall, however we now have several dozen that spend the summer in our viewing area. The humpback whales arrive in June and remain in the area through October due to the abundance of herring, which is their main food. A beautiful fall day for this well timed rare picture.
Humpback whales over the past seven years have become a common sight in our viewing area. Rather than traveling to the Alaskan waters to feed they are spending their summers along the southern coast of British Columbia. The colder, coastal waters attract the humpbacks because in the summer months the area is rich in prey, including small schooling fish such as herring, capelin, and pilchard, as well as krill. The whale will lunge through a shoal of prey with mouth gaping open often exploding at the surface with both food and water. They may eat up to 1,400 kg (3,000 lbs) of food a day.