A Surprise Humpback Encounter! – 11/5/18

When we set up camp on May 11, we thought we were in for yet another rather uneventful day in the field. We spent the entire day staring out at Howe Sound, looking for harbour porpoise. But the porpoises had other places to be that day, and for much of the morning, the most exciting thing we got to see were a few gulls, and even they didn’t stick around for long. And then we noticed a blow in the far distance. As it turned out, that blow belonged to a humpback whale feeding off Bowen Island, more than 5 km away from our location.

Visibility was brilliant, so we were able to watch the animal as it kept moving up and down the coastline off Bowen Island before finally crossing over and making it into shallow water just off Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver, where we could watch it from up close and get park visitors to pay attention to it! The whale stuck around, feeding right in front of us for long after sunset. We watched this animal for more than 7 hours, which was definitely a highlight in May!

Sadly, when reviewing the pictures, we also noticed that the animal had quite a severe injury to its dorsal fin, which we couldn’t quite make out while we were observing it in the field. We did notice throughout the day that some boats, even the ferries, stopped for the whale and gave it some space, while others, private boats, seemed to get way too close for our comfort.


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