Friday, May 17, 2024

Mama humpback whales and their new calves return to Vancouver Island waters

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Whale watchers and nature lovers — a delightful surprise has graced the Salish Sea in recent days.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) announced that the first humpback whales were spotted in varying locations around Vancouver Island with some with new calves in tow.

It was noted that whale watchers have spotted at least three new calves! 

“We celebrate every whale’s return, but it’s doubly special when they have a new calf in tow,” said PWWA executive director Erin Gless. 

Among the new moms are Graze, Strike, and Poptart — one of the most well-known humpback whales in the region and belonging to the beloved humpback, Big Mama. 

(Big Mama and young Poptart in 2016 / Brooke McKinley, Outer Island Excursions)

When the humpbacks and their calves were spotted, Graze was near Victoria in the Juan de Fuca Strait, Strike was near the Gulf Islands, and Poptart was near Galiano Island in the Strait of Georgia!

Poptart’s name was coined from her love of breaching completely out of the water as a youngster, like a poptart out of a toaster!

We’re thankful they’ve completed their long journey back to the Salish Sea after having spent the winter in warmer waters, where they gave birth to their calves. 

(Strike and her calf / Melisa Pinnow)

Strike was documented in Isla Socorro, Mexico during the winter. Both Grace and Poptart were photographed off the Hawaiian Islands. We wish we’d spent our winter there too!

“…it’s nice to get confirmation, and to know they’ve completed the journey safely,” says Gless. “We’ve notified researchers of their arrival here on the feeding grounds.” 

(Graze and her calf / Ashley Keegan, Wild Whales Vancouver)

Looks like whale watching season has officially returned to the Salish Sea!

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