Author Archives: John Lackey
It’s getting to be late afternoon and the view over the Grey Goose Marina just cried out for photo or two. You are looking past the eastern tip of Friday Island, Minnesota Reef to Mt Baker. Just majestic..It is days and moments like this that reminds you why you live here..click on the images to enlarge
This was contributed by Captain Jim Maya who operates out of Snug Harbor in Mitchell Bay
Every year, more and more humpback whales are coming into our waters, the waters of our Salish Sea.
Historically, like Alaska, there used to be hundreds of humpbacks in the waters of Puget Sound and what is now called the Salish Sea. That was before the Canadian and US whaling fleets killed them all, by the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The Salish Sea includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Strait of Georgia, and the waters of the San Juan Islands.
On a personal note, when I started my whale watching business in 1996, we seldom would see humpbacks. We would see perhaps one every other year. Starting about eight years ago we started seeing more and more humpbacks every year. This last summer I would venture that more than 40 humpbacks were seen in the waters off of Victoria, BC, and San Juan Islands. There were several days when more than 20 humpbacks were being seen…in a single day!
Our humpbacks, mostly females and calves, have returned to our waters to feed on the herring. We seldom see males. Unlike Orcas, who spend their lives in family groups led by older females, humpbacks live solitary lives except for the year that calves live with their mothers. When we see several humpbacks together, they are in that area because of the herring, their food, not because of a family reunion, or for mating. Mating and birthing take place in Hawaii for our humpbacks. We seldom see humpbacks in our local waters in the winter. They travel to Hawaii to mate and calve, an incredible journey across the Pacific of 2600 miles.
As a side note, the humpbacks off of California, whose numbers are also increasing, travel to Mexico and Central America.
Next summer, in addition to our orcas, we’ll be seeing the return of our humpbacks as well. Massive mammals, ranging up to 52 feet and 79,000 pounds, they bring a welcomed diversity and awe to our amazing waters…
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