A few days ago, Five Star Whale Watching headed out on tour and encountered at least five Humpback whales a few minutes from Victoria Harbour. Seeing Humpbacks so late into winter in the Salish Sea is incredible and is something Five Star have experienced for the last few winters. Each year it seems more Humpbacks are hanging out longer in the winter.
Seeing the Humpback whales in the Salish Sea is such a heartwarming sight. They had been all but wiped out by commercial whaling in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By the mid 1960’s, Canada had finally banned all commercial hunting and killing of whales. The Humpbacks returned to the Salish Sea in the 1990’s and since then we have seen a rapidly increasing population, in particular over the past 5 years.
During this past summer we had over 50 Humpback whales West of Sooke. It was a stunning sight to see blows in every direction. In the fall we got to see a large number of Humpbacks (20+) feeding between Constance Bank (South of Victoria) and Race Rocks. On many occasions, we got to witness several Humpbacks lunge feeding together. We are also seeing mothers bring their calves to the Salish Sea and these calves ofter return as Juveniles and Adults, sometimes with their own young!
On our first tour of 2021, we headed out and encountered 3 Humpback whales between Albert Head and William Head. They were lunge feeding in a tide line. we also encountered two other individuals closer to Victoria, although they were in a resting state and participating in longer dives.
We love Humpback whales and we are thrilled that these gentle giants continue to return to the Salish Sea in ever increasing numbers!
Story by Andrew Lees, Five Star Whale Watching