It was a record-breaking year for orca and humpback whale sightings in the Salish Sea last year.
There were more than 1000 orca sightings, making them present more than 90% of the year, a new high. Often they were seen in the Salish Sea, with more than one pod hanging out together. We had amazing encounters with numerous Bigg’s killer whales/transient orcas in the Salish Sea. The orcas encountered have included the T10's, T18’s, T34’s, T36’s, T37’s, T41’s, T46’s, T46B's, T60’s T65A’s, T77C, T87, T101’s, T109’s, T121’s and T137’s. At times we would have 20-30 orcas together socializing and hunting. We also encountered the T252's last fall, they are rare visitors to the Salish Sea, spending most of their time on the outer coast of BC & Washington. Five Star was one of the 1st boats to see them last season!
It truly was an incredible time witnessing these orcas. It was also a record year for humpback whales. In particular, a record number of Mom & calves were seen in the Salish Sea.
Last year, 21 calves have were photographed and documented by whale watchers and researchers throughout inland Washington and British Columbia. According to the Center for Whale Research, that is the highest annual number on record so far for the region. “2021 has been an incredible year for female humpbacks coming into the Salish Sea with new calves,” says Alexa Desautels, Head Naturalist with Five Star Whale Watching. “Calves only travel with mom for a year or so and then they’re on their own. Once they’re familiar with our waters, they will often return year after year to feed.”
One Mom and Calf duo was identified as BCX1068 “Split Fluke” and her newest calf. Split Fluke, born in 2006 to mom BCY0160 “Heather”, has been matched through photographs to Mexican breeding grounds in winter. Her latest calf is Split Fluke’s third, and represents the third generation of Salish Sea humpback whales.
On July 1st (Canada Day) we also witnessed a humpback whale breach over 50 times! "Watching a 30-40 ton whale breach is always a thrill," said Andrew Lees, Captain and owner of Five Star Whale Watching.
Whales aren't the only wildlife you can see on a Five Star Whale Watching tour. You may encounter seals, sea lions and otters. The Salish Sea is a true adventure of the natural world. Five Star Whale Watching is a member of the CanaDream Club. Join Five Star Whale Watching in 2022 and Discover the Wonders of the Salish Sea!