San Juan Island Whale Watch report from Saturday, April 11th:
The predicted rain held off for us, and Captain Brian P. and I headed out into the sunshine as we left San Juan Island in hopes of whales. Reports of whales off the Saanich area of Vancouver Island held true for us, and as we came close to shore we sighted them. At first it looked like a small group of two individuals, but as we drew closer we could identify two adult whales and one small calf! The calf was surfacing and swimming in sync with its mother.
After observing their behavior for a few minutes, Brian informed the guests that the whales were most likely hunting harbor seals, and probably teaching the young calf to hunt. Although calves might nurse up to two years, after one year they'll start to take solid food and it's the job of its pod to teach it how to forage and hunt. According to my research, all members of the pod-- both male and female-- assist in the raising of the young. With females reproducing only once every five years or so, and just half of those calves making it past their initial first year, each new addition to the pod is an important one.
I feel very lucky to have spotted such a young whale, and it was a delight for all to see.