Bubble net feeding Humpback Whale

Bubble net feeding Humpback Whale of Telegraph Cove, Canada.

Telegraph Cove is well known for its great Whale Watching. I really wanted to experience the area by Sea Kayak but my inability to provide paperwork proving my knowledge meant I jumped on a Whale Watching Boat. Glad I did.

Telegraph Cove is a tourist town, not the normal place I travel to. But the Whales called me there. The overnight rain and morning drizzle left me lacking enthusiasm as I boarded the vessel in the morning. I was hoping for the best but my expectations were not too high. I hoped to see Orcas and maybe, if lucky, some Humpbacks.

I spent the initial part of the journey talking with the Captain which enabled me to listen in on the local chatter on the marine radio, all the other vessels looking for wildlife assisting one and other with sighting locations. It wasn’t long before I heard the radio mention a pod of Orcas. We motored in that direction. On route there were several Dall’s Porpoises gracefully passing by. At a place known as the Robson Bight Michael Biggs Ecological Reserve we were observing 4 Pods of Killer Whales (Orcas) cruising up the channel. Each pod is identified by the on board naturalist as the A23, A25, A32 and the A40. A total of 21 Orcas. One inquisitive individual surfaced meters from the vessel for a look before diving directly under me. I had a distant sighting of Orcas only a couple of days ago while on the Ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy. It wet my appetite to see them again and learn a little about them. There were also some visits from Bald Eagles and Sea Birds which kept the Birdwatchers happy and several sightings of Steller Sea Lions and Pacific White Sided Dolphins.

Killer Whales also known as Orcas.

Killer Whales also known as Orcas.

More Killer Whales

More Killer Whales

Eagle

Bald Eagle

After cruising through several narrow channels we ended up at a location where several Humpback Whales were sighted. To my surprise one of the Whales started Bubble Net Fishing. This is the technique where a Whale blows bubbles of air in a circular pattern from down deep which confuses the Krill or small schooling fish and keeps them within the bubble perimeter. The Whale then surfaces through the centre of the bubble ring with gaping jaws to scoop up the bounty. It’s something I have only seen on documentaries where filmmakers spend months getting footage of such behaviors. Apparently this was only observed in Canadian waters for the first time in 2013 and there are only 2 know individuals capable of this technique. It was a privilege to see it. As the trip continued there were several other Humpbacks sighted. They are making a comeback to this area. Canada was a whaling nation until very recently and the last several years have seen the Humpback Whale numbers steadily increase. Conservation and protection seems to be affording the Humpbacks profitable place to reside. Anybody heading that way check out Stubbs Island Whale Watching, I can recommend them.

Bubble net feeding Humpback Whale

Bubble net feeding Humpback Whale, note the ring of bubbles around the surfacing Whale.

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale diving to start bubble net feeding again

Humpback Whale diving to start bubble net feeding again

Humpback Whale bubble net feeding very close to shore

Humpback Whale bubble net feeding very close to shore

Humpback Whale diving down to start bubble net feeding

Humpback Whale diving down to start bubble net feeding

Photographer could be excused for pointing the camera in the wrong direction. Truth is there were several Whales all round the vessel

Photographer could be excused for pointing the camera in the wrong direction. Truth is there were several Whales all round the vessel

Alert Bay to Telegraph Cove = 39km

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