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Humpback Whale Sightings

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Although we spend most of our time with Orca Whales we are getting to spend more and more time each year with Humpbacks. We have had some amazing encounters with Humpback whales this season! We are very excited that the Humpback whale population is increasing as the sightings will continue to grow. Humpback whales are seasonal feeders and eat about 4,400-5,500 pounds of plankton, krill and small schooling fish each day during the feeding season. They are one of the largest whales that swim in our waters and grow to be about 15 meters long and weighing about 40 tonnes. These whales usually live to be 45-50 years old.

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For the past couple of weeks there have been several reports of Humpback whales in the area. On one of our afternoon tours we got suited up and headed down south to the report of 20 humpbacks!! As soon as we arrived on scene there was one playful humpback breaching in the distance welcoming us. This was quite a sight to see! The humpback whales are very acrobatic and are known for breaching, spy hopping and slapping their tail on the water’s surface. This season we also got to spend time with Big Mama and one of her calves. The calf has been very active in its behavior and enjoys breaching in and out of the water.

690Humpback whales travel in large loose groups, or even alone with the exception of the mother and calf having a strong bond. We are so incredibly lucky that these gentle giants swim in and out of our waters. Please enjoy some of our best photos so far as we are hoping these endangered species stick around a little longer, as they make their way north to spend their summers feeding.

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Transient Orcas

Transient OrcMay 2015 136as, also known as Bigg’s Killer Whales (named after Dr.Michael Biggs, famous for his Killer whale reseach), or commonly called T’s are an ecotype of Orca that are marine mammal hunters (they also eat the occasional bird, and very rarely a terrestrial mammal, but not humans :). These animals traditionally travel in smaller groups of between two and six individuals and have less stable family bonds (as compared to the Resident Orcas, Southern and Northern). Generally Transient Orcas vocalize less than the Residents and have a different dialect than the other ecotypes.

In the last few years the Bigg’s Killer Whales have become less “transient” in our waters, the Salish Sea. We have, in the 76 calendar days between June 1 and Aug. 15 of last summer 2015, saw transient whales on at least 49 days of 79! We have seen even more consistency so far this season! In the last 10 years, which is short for a species to recover, we have noticed undoubtedly that more and more transient Orca are returning to this area every spring.

InMay 2015 532creased Transient Orca Sightings

The increased amount of Transient Orcas in the area can be attributed to the influx of marine mammals, including harbour seals.The B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network doesn’t tally its counts until the end of the year, but co-coordinator Tessa Danelesko said it’s safe to say transient populations are increasing.
The Vancouver Aquarium says that we are seeing population growth of two to three per cent a year. And they think that’s directly linked to prey availability. It is believed that there are about 300 Transient Orcas living between California and Alaska. All of this is excellent news for a species of cetacean that was once listed as endangered and I know we are all excited to have so many back already this spring!

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May 2015 230

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Sidney Whale Watching is a family run company and has been serving Sidney for over 15 years. We love what we do and we're positive that you will have a great experience with us.

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