Have You Seen Any of These?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Humpback Whales May Not Migrate South

Many Humpback Whales have not started their long migration to southern breeding grounds. Is this because they don't plan to breed this year, or is it because they haven't had enough food to build their reserves? The breeding grounds do not have much in the way of food for them, so when they are at their breeding grounds in Hawaii or Mexico, they live off their body reserves. Every year, over the past 18 or so years, we have seen a few stay all winter. These numbers of Humpbacks has been increasing over the past 5 years and raises more questions than we have answers for.

Some of the Resident, fish eating Orca, who are not actually "resident" but travel farther afield, were seen in Discovery Passage. Since we did not have confirmation if these were again, Southern Residents from J and L pods foraging, or Northern Resident Killer Whales searching for food, we have had to list them in the Unidentified segment of this report. There were also a few Transient Biggs Orca on the hunt for seals, sealions, or the smaller Cetaceans such as the Pacific White Sided Dolphins that round out this report.

Please remember to report your sightings so that we can monitor and map the Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoise. Our work continues year round, and many of our sightings come from shore based observers like you.

Susan MacKay, Wild Ocean Whale Society

Humpback Whale, BCY0291 KC, fluking off of the Cape Mudge Lighthouse
Kurt Staples, Eagle Eye Adventures

Society News & Events

Real Time Monitoring Station Live Update:
Our live camera feed is at YouTube Channel Live Link. We still have transmission problems causing the intermittent bouncy images from the Beach Gardens Marina camera which would translate to static for our hydrophone (underwater listening) stream. We continue to work on a resolution. You may also have noticed that we have a second live stream that appears when the Beach Gardens camera is down. This is a lesser quality camera we have as a backup mounted in Powell River. We still managed to have a couple of whale sightings from both cameras.

Thank You to all our hardworking volunteers and contributors! We'd also like to welcome our new volunteers who have started training.

Our team of online Volunteers continue to do a great job in making sure all your sightings reports are mapped and published regularly. Would you like to join us?
Review our current Volunteer Job Postings
Note to Safari browser users:
Apple software upgrades may prevent images from displaying on this site. To resolve the problem, please clear your Safari browser cache: On a Mac this is in Safari preferences. On iPad and iPhones, use the Settings app, Safari, Clear History and Website Data.

to the non profit wild ocean whale society


Sightings Update




Sat Oct 14 2017

16:34 • Biggs Orca heading south approaching Raza Passage. ▫ Leaving the Scene
15:54 • 7 Biggs Orca on the east side of Hole in the Wall. Very social group.

Wed Oct 11 2017

10:15 • 3 Biggs Orca near Comox, Georgia Strait. ▫ Second Hand
Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce


Sun Oct 15 2017

17:05 • Orca heading south from Seymour Narrows, Discovery Passage.
Dean Parsonage, 50 North Aventures

15:30 • Orca heading south by Browns Bay, Discovery Passage. ▫ Second Hand
14:51 • 20-30 Orca heading south past Deepwater Bay, Discovery Passage. Most likely Resident Orca. Spread out across the whole channel. Very active.
Ryan Stewart, Sonora Resort

Thu Oct 12 2017

11:09 • Orca seen at a distance from halfway between Duke Point and Horseshoe Bay, Georgia Strait. While watching a breaching Humpback Whale. ▫ From Ferry


Tue Oct 17 2017

15:31 • 3-4 Humpback Whales off Cape Roger Curtis, Bowen Island, Georgia Strait.
14:32 • 2-3 Humpback Whales off the light at Blubber Bay angling toward Coho / Kiddie Point, Malaspina Strait. ▫ Observed from Shore

Mon Oct 16 2017

15:38 • Humpback Whales breaching, north of Powell River Ferry terminal, Malaspina Strait. ▫ Observed from Shore
Candi Little, Texada Island, BC

10:09 • 1 Humpback Whales breaching, close to south west tip of Harwood Island, Malaspina Strait. ▫ Observed from Shore
10:09 • 1-2 Humpback Whales foraging back and forth, closer to shore in front of Powell River, Malaspina Strait. ▫ Observed from Shore
09:50 • 2 Humpback Whales breaching, heading south halfway between Powell River and Rebecca Rocks and halfway between Harwood Island and Texada Island, Malaspina Strait. The breach showed them to be headed south. There was another whale spout close to shore south of the viewpoint, but I only saw the spout windy out there. ▫ Observed from Shore
Sherri Wretham, Powell River, BC

08:30 • Humpback Whales heading north not far out from Powell River Viewpoint, Malaspina Strait. ▫ Observed from Shore
Michelle Pennell, Powell River, BC

08:25 • 1 Humpback Whales heading north about 700 metres south of Powell River Viewpoint. Saw the blows then only the tail as it dove. First time it looked like it was heading north, second time heading east. ▫ Observed from Shore
Janet Southcott, Powell River, BC

Sun Oct 15 2017

14:06 • 2 Humpback Whales south end of Crescent Bay, Texada Island, Georgia Strait.
09:29 • Humpback Whales Powell River Mill (Pulp & Paper) angling toward Texada Island, Malaspina Strait. Reported by Chad on vessel Kumbaya.

Sat Oct 14 2017

18:40 • 2 Humpback Whales heading south by the Discovery Harbour Marina in Campbell River in the middle of Discovery Passage.
12:11 • 1 Humpback Whales in the middle of Homfray Channel.
Erik Blaney, IHos Cultural Tours

Fri Oct 13 2017

18:00 • 3 Humpback Whales heading south bottom of Rendezvous Islands, Sutil Channel.
Leigh Nelson, Adventure Quest Tours

17:20 • 5-6 Humpback Whales heading south on west side of Rebecca Rocks, Georgia Strait. Blows were lit up by the sun.
15:00 • 3 Humpback Whales just off Willow Point, Georgia Strait.
12:04 • Humpback Whales at the top end of Whale Passage, Sutil Channel.
Radio, overheard or call out

09:29 • 4 Humpback Whales Hill Island, Sutil Channel.
09:09 • 1 Humpback Whales breaching, between Quadra Island Scallop Farm and Centre Islet, Sutil Channel.
08:46 • 1 Humpback Whales Grilse Point, Texada Island, Malaspina Strait. A few blows. ▫ From Ferry
Michelle Pennell, Powell River, BC

Thu Oct 12 2017

16:46 • 1 Humpback Whales Hill Island, Sutil Channel.
16:46 • 3 Humpback Whales ◦BCX0380 Zed; Zorro◦ Whaletown, Sutil Channel.
16:46 • 3-4 Humpback Whales ◦BCY0291 KC◦ Francisco Point, Georgia Strait.
11:06 • Humpback Whales breaching, halfway between Duke Point and Horseshoe Bay, Georgia Strait. Juvenile Humpback as well as a unknown number of Orca in the distance. ▫ From Ferry
10:06 • 2 Humpback Whales heading north Rendezvous Islands, Drew Passage.
09:39 • 4 Humpback Whales Hill Island, Sutil Channel.
09:10 • 3 Humpback Whales heading south Marina Reef, Sutil Channel.
08:58 • est. 2 Humpback Whales Coho / Kiddie Point, Georgia Strait.
Michelle Pennell, Powell River, BC

08:48 • Humpback Whales heading east off Coho / Kiddie Point, Malaspina Strait. Heading towards Powell River.
Eric Green, Powell River CCG

Wed Oct 11 2017

18:17 • 1 Humpback Whales mid channel between Marina Island and Quadra Island, Sutil Channel. That makes 7 different Humpbacks within half an hour.
18:11 • 2 Humpback Whales south side of Subtle Islands, Sutil Channel.
17:51 • 2 Humpback Whales between Hill Island and Penn Islands, Sutil Channel.
17:51 • 2 Humpback Whales in Evans Bay, Sutil Channel.
Leigh Nelson, Adventure Quest Tours

16:32 • 4 Humpback Whales between Hill Island and Penn Islands, Sutil Channel.
13:36 • 5 Humpback Whales 2 miles south of the red can marker off Marina Reef, Georgia Strait. ▫ Leaving the Scene
13:30 • 4-6 Humpback Whales taking long dives, Dionisio Point just south of Porlier Pass, Georgia Strait. The blow was low and they stayed on the surface for periods of time then diving several times staying down around 10 minutes, occasionally showing a tail on the dive but not always. They stayed in the same area the whole time so likely feeding. No breaching or spy hopping behaviours. ▫ From Power or Sail Boat
Brenda De Jong, , BC

10:47 • 1 Humpback Whales south of Cape Mudge Red Can Buoy off Wilby Shoals, Georgia Strait.
Leigh Nelson, Adventure Quest Tours

10:21 • 2 Humpback Whales Cortez Reef, Georgia Strait.
09:48 • 2 Humpback Whales heading north-west Cape Mudge Lighthouse, Georgia Strait.
Kurt Staples, Eagle Eye Adventures

Humpback Whales
Humpback Whales off of the Cape Mudge Lighthouse
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 - 7 items
Kurt Staples, Eagle Eye Adventures

Humpback Whales
Humpback Whales off of the Cape Mudge Lighthouse
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 - 7 items
Kurt Staples, Eagle Eye Adventures

08:58 • est. 5 Humpback Whales heading north Cortez Reef, Georgia Strait.

Humpback Whales
Humpback Whale breaching
Wed, 4 Oct 2017 - 4 items

Humpback Whales
Humpback Whale breaching
Wed, 4 Oct 2017 - 4 items

Humpback Whales
Humpback Whale fluking in Discovery Passage
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 - 2 items

Humpback Whales
Humpback Whale fluking in Discovery Passage
Wed, 11 Oct 2017 - 2 items


Tue Oct 17 2017

15:17 • PWS Dolphins off Chatham Point spread down Discovery Passage.
Radio, overheard or call out

Sun Oct 15 2017

17:45 • est. 8 PWS Dolphins bow riding, heading south, Discovery Passage. ▫ On Scene
Tatia MacGregor, Campbell River, BC

Thu Oct 12 2017

14:45 • est. 100 PWS Dolphins heading south Coho / Kiddie Point, Georgia Strait. ▫ Observed from Shore


Tue Oct 17 2017

12:17 • Species Unsure Buckley Bay, Denman Island, Baynes Sound.
Radio, overheard or call out

SUBMIT sightings
or call 1-877-323-9776 or eMail
we welcome your sighting reports, photographs, video and audio recordings. please review our media submission guidelines


NEW! WOWs Sightings Archive Explorer

Recommended for desktop browsers and newer mobile devices

Dive into over 5,000 Cetacean Sightings, images, videos and audio recordings reported in our Sightings Updates with the WOWS Sightings Archive Explorer


Archive Explorer takes readers into the Cetacean world of the BC Coast. Easily view all Cetacean sighting reports together with all sighting photos and videos:
• View species such as Humpback, Grey Whale or Dalls Porpoise
• Follow the endangered Southern Residents Orca in the Salish Sea
• Search for encounters with T002C2 Tumbo
• Goto Port Alberni to watch a close-up video of Orca in the harbour
• Track the T010s Transients as they hunt and travel the inside passage
• Check-Out "KC", the ever popular Humphack and track his whereabouts this past August
• Goto one of 12,000 named locations on the BC and WA State coast
• Print custom sighting reports and maps (Coming Soon)

Explore this powerfull new research tool with the Archive Explorer Help page


Note: The Cetacean Sightings Archive is also available in database format together with sighting photo and video links for viewing, query and download here

Send your Comments and Questions to: Archive Explorer Feedback

The Magazine


Raincoast Conservation Foundation

The world’s oceans are increasingly subject to a multitude of human-caused pressures, with continental shelf ecosystems among the most heavily affected. As a result, Canada’s Salish Sea is now a patchwork of degraded environments where harmful effects on marine mammals include damaging levels of noise, lack of food, toxic pollutants, fatal collisions with ships and disruptive vessel traffic. Predictably, the Salish Sea’s Southern Resident killer whale population is one of the most critically endangered populations of marine mammals in Canada and the U.S.

Both countries list this transboundary population as endangered, citing three primary risk factors: lack of the whales’ preferred prey, Chinook salmon; chronic and acute underwater noise and physical disturbance (e.g., from ferries, commercial ships, whale-watching boats, fishing boats, and recreational traffic); and high levels of contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls. Consequently, under existing conditions of food availability, pollutants and vessel traffic the Southern Residents face a highly uncertain future. Routine starvation of whales is one grim manifestation of these cumulative human caused disturbances.

Vancouver Sun,BC

Government action is needed now, on an emergency basis, to restrict vessels within the critical habitat of endangered southern resident killer whales, marine scientists warned Thursday in Vancouver.

“There are some short-term things that can be done — they’re practical, well-supported and cautionary,” Vancouver Aquarium whale researcher Lance Barrett-Lennard told a federally sponsored symposium on the killer whales. “We’d better stop talking about them and start doing them.”

John Ford, an emeritus federal scientist who now teaches at the University of B.C., agreed that sport fishing and whale-watching boats can physically interfere with the whales’ ability to hunt, including their key summer prey, chinook salmon.

“They need space,” he said. “If there is a flotilla of boats around them, no matter what (the boats are) doing … they represent physical obstacles in these key spots.”

In Washington state, there is a strict law that prohibits boats from approaching killer whales within 200 yards, yet on the B.C. side of the Salish Sea, there is only a guideline of 100 metres and a hard-to-prove prohibition against harassing or disturbing the whales....


Giant humpback whales, a once-threatened species, are making a comeback off B.C.’s South Coast, according to local whale-watchers and researchers.
“They have just come back like gangbusters. They're in this area and people are seeing them more and more frequently,” said Cedric Towers of Vancouver Whale Watch. “One or two whales we’ve been seeing now for five or six years in a row.”
A pair of humpback whales was spotted near Galiano Island as recently as Wednesday....

CBC News BC / CHEK News

Officials say a dead humpback whale that washed up near Ucluelet last week was likely hit by a large vessel.

Scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the juvenile male had its lower jawbone dislocated after being hit with significant force.

"When I hear it's a vessel strike I'm not too surprised because the number of humpbacks are increasing in B.C.," marine biologist Wendy Szaniszlo of the Vancouver Aquarium told CHEK News.

Malnutrition suspected in death of young killer whale
Orca found on Sunshine Coast died of blunt force trauma, DFO says
"If that's what happened then it sounds like it was probably a ship versus a smaller vessel, and ship strikes further offshore have been known to kill larger whales."

Curtis Fendelet, who owns the Mussel Beach Campground where the humpback washed up last week, said the carcass has attracted a lot of attention.

Fendelet said scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada took note of the dislocated jawbone when they took samples from the dead animal.

"They took some blubber samples and stool samples from the humpback and took an eyeball to see if it was stressed before it died."


National Geographic, USA

VIDEO - Blue whales are the largest animals on Earth, but we know surprisingly little about their complex social interactions—and they've rarely been recorded on camera.

But new footage filmed off the coast of Sri Lanka by pro whale photographer Patrick Dykstra, in conjunction with blue whale scientist Howard Martenstyn, may be a first. Their video shows what they believe is the first known clip of a blue whale "heat run."

Heat runs have been well documented in humpback whales, but no known footage exists of the behavior in blue whales (or at least that Dykstra or National Geographic could find).
For more details:

Smithsonian, DC

Like dancers on stage, the humpbacks move in synchronization. The lead whale expertly executes a looping series of turns toward the water's surface—a spiral of bubbles trailing behind. Then, suddenly, the pod surges. The whales burst through the ring of bubbles, mouths agape.

These aren't trained humpbacks, pirouetting for the pleasure of onlookers. Instead, these massive beasts are hunting using an ingenious method known as bubble-net feeding. A new video that surfaced on GoPro's blog shows its Karma drone capturing the whales in action just west of the Maskelyne Island in British Columbia, Canada....

the Guardian, UK

was telling a Londoner recently about the North Yorkshire coast. “I really must go one day,” she said, sounding unconvinced. “But we’ve already booked for Mexico next year – we’re going whale-watching.”

I had already sold my home county’s charms long enough, so I decided against landing another killer blow: God’s own county has whales, too. Sean Baxter, a fisherman who lives in the village of Staithes, has been encouraging me to search them out for years. “The summer herring shoals are back,” he told me recently. “We’ve got all sorts of marine life living off them: minke whales, porpoises, dolphins, basking sharks – even humpbacks and sunfish some years.”

This was another reason why I failed to mention the Yorkshire leviathans: I had never clapped eyes on them myself. Surely Yorkshire whale-watching could not be a patch on places with exotic names like Kaikoura, Anacortes and Isle St Marie? How could Yorkshire ever compete? Baxter was adamant that it could. There was only one way to test it out....

CTV News

The rich social interaction and highly evolved brains of some whales are linked in a kind of evolutionary feedback loop, a newly published paper suggests.
The research, largely done at the University of British Columbia, sheds new light on similarities between whale and human evolution.
"Similar pressures and possibilities in the environment can select for a similar outcome," said Kieran Fox, now a postdoctoral student at California's Stanford University and co-author of the new paper in Nature Ecology and Evolution....

Telegraph, UK

Whales and dolphins live in human-like societies and share similar brain evolution to primates and man, scientist have concluded.

A new study which looked at 90 species found a link between brain size and social and cultural traits in marine mammals.

It is the first time that scientists have considered whether ‘social brain hypothesis’ applies to whales and dolphins, as well as humans. The theory suggests that intelligence developed as a means of coping with large and complex social groups.


CBC New Brunswick has launched Deep Trouble: a podcast series that brings together the interviews and stories by CBC journalists who travelled far and wide to cover a deadly summer for the North Atlantic right whale. Only about 450 whales remain in the world.

Listen to the full discussion and subscribe to the Deep Trouble podcast from the CBC Podcast page or subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

A record number of endangered North Atlantic right whales died this summer, most the apparent victims of ship collisions. Others whales got entangled in fishing lines.

Whales seemed at greatest risk in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As deaths mounted, the federal government made emergency changes to protect the animals — a mandatory slowdown of large ships and an early closure of a snow crab fishery, hoping to regulate the human activity linked to the problem.
For more details:
CBC Podcast page

Magazine Submissions

the magazine accepts submissions of links to published articles and media of interest to our readers. we welcome original articles, letters, notices, photography, video and audio

to the magazine

original material guidelines
notices: 100 words max.; letters & articles: 500 words max.
you or your organization must be authors of the work and are solely responsible for its content. the magazine gives no assurance material submitted will be published. media submission guidelines

to the non profit wild ocean whale society

review our volunteer opportunities

SUBMIT sightings
or call 1-877-323-9776 or eMail
we welcome your sighting reports, photographs, video and audio recordings. please review our media submission guidelines


receive sightings update eMail notices

the wild ocean whale society