Bubble net feeding by Humpback Whales ~ Fantastic day of whale watching!

It was a great day that we all enjoyed despite the fog early in the day. As we travelled in Johnstone Strait this morning orcas were reported travelling east rapidly at Naka Creek. We made our way up into Blackfish Sound and along the Swanson Island shoreline where we could see and hear two humpback whales, one was working very close into and along the shoreline, both of them were making their way towards Bold Head. As we watched closely, we were thrilled to see the beginning of a “bubble net” being set and we observed with great interest the sequence of “bubble net feeding” by this one individual whale. It was intriguing to see the whale dive deep after fluking and moments later, the first bubbles would appear, spreading out across the water in a circular fashion and towards where the first bubbles in the net appeared when a great burst of bubbles would appear from below the water as though to tightly close the net with the final mass of bubbles and then suddenly, the whale would lunge feed upwards through the entire ring of bubbles to feed. It would then make one or two shallow dives resurfacing each time, and then fluke and dive and shortly after we would see the circle of bubbles appearing once more! Again and again, spell-bound we all watched, transfixed by the sheer brilliance and expertise of the whale, busily weaving its net to catch small fish, not unlike a spider spinning its web! We reluctantly left the whale and made our way further west towards Bold Head where suddenly another humpback whale was observed also “bubble net feeding”! It was exciting seeing the two whales together and we watched as they both fluked and disappeared into the fog. Turning back, we were underway and travelling when a fourth whale surfaced suddenly beside us, there was no fog present at the time and no previous sign of it being in the area and we waited for it to carry on its way before proceeding. Always a reminder, when travelling in boats in local waters, even slowly, humpback whales can and do surface suddenly under boats, large and small, especially fast-moving boats and endanger themselves by doing so (as damaged dorsal, flukes and scars show on individual identified whales); it can also be a danger for mariners and their passengers onboard. Going slowly through the humpback whale catalogue page by page, the whale bubble netting today that we spent time observing was identified thanks to Trish and Saydee as BCXuk2011 # 5 (Bubbles)! Also seen today: harbour seals, a coastal black-tailed deer, bald eagles, belted kingfishers, red-necked phalaropes, common murres, rhinoceros auklets, fork-tailed storm petrels and gull species.

Todays penned comments: “We came out of the fog to the biggest surprise that we hadn’t ever imagined earlier! A big humpback whale dancing with his bubbles and popping out to feed on small fish, moving around in front of our lenses and making this day unforgetable to us all. Thank you so much Maureen and David. Hope to see you again on our next visit to Canada! ” ~ The Thorntons, Germany

“I had a wonderful time. The environment awesome, the humpback whales a wonderful sight. The ride on the sailboat was an absolute wonderful experience. The hospitality was excellent. Thank you.” Johanne, Duncan

“Thanks for the nice trip. Very special to see the humpbacks and luckily the fog opened up.”                               ~ Kris & Renzo, the NetherlandsIMG_3110 IMG_3129 IMG_3145 IMG_3199 IMG_3233 IMG_3329 IMG_3339 IMG_3340 IMG_3362 IMG_3363 IMG_3102 IMG_3101 IMG_3085 IMG_3074 IMG_3069 IMG_3008 IMG_3007

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