Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Humpbacks & T100 Group
Today’s Ocean Magic II trip started out at Pillar Point, WA, to view a pair of Humpback whales. Along the way groups of Dall’s porpoises were seen traveling at high speeds, creating ‘rooster tails’ of water. The Humpback whales were a half-mile from shore and were different animals than yesterday. The mother and calf logging at the surface then took short dives as they circled around the vessel at a good distance. Female Humpback whales get up to 50 feet long (15m) and weigh over 60 thousand pounds (30tonnes). Their massive size was revealed by the sound of their loud strong breaths against the calm waters. Humpback whales feed in the summer on schooling fish (herring, capelin, mackerel, and salmon), krill, and other crustaceans then migrate to the warmer waters of Hawaii for the winter. These baleen whales are well known for their long flippers and distinctive head knobs. Each tubercle is a hair follicle with a single coarse hair growing out of the center. Humpbacks are probably the most energetic of all the large whales and are fortunately recovering their territory after being nearly wiped out from the whaling industry. On the way back to Victoria we saw a US submarine being escorted by two coast guard vessels. We then had a nice surprise with the T100 Group of transient, meat eating, killer whales about a half-mile west from the Race Rocks ecological reserve. Sea gulls flew overhead while the family traveled northwest toward Vancouver Island.