Well, as the name suggests, we found some whales today. Whale Channel is sheltered from the open Pacific Ocean by numerous small islands and channels, making up a patchwork of waterways primed for life. Fjords are glacially-carved valleys flooded by seawater during the retreat of their respective glaciers. Fjords have only one way in and out. In some areas, fjords become crisscrossed, creating channels that have multiple entries and exits. This allows huge amounts of water to surge in and out of the system, lending itself to high marine productivity.
We saw the results today. Dozens of humpback whales were seen during our transit, with two of particular interest. Over the course of an hour, we watched as two seemingly unattached humpbacks used their massive flukes to slash the water like a fan two to three times before lunging through the concentrated school of krill that developed in response to the frothy chaos. The strategy seemed to work because the same behavior was used by more humpbacks later in the day.
Not only were humpbacks in the mix, but we also saw two fin whales, a much more unlikely sighting on the British Columbia coastline. To top it off, just before recap, a few sleek, black dorsal fins broke the surface to reveal killer whales. Most likely northern residents, this very small group (at least four) was busy swimming back and forth, likely chasing the salmon that are staging for their return upstream later this year.
Cetaceans were the order of the day with fin and humpbacks representing the whales and Orcinus orca representing the dolphins. May the wildlife continue!