We have had fantastic Whale sightings over the past week in Tofino.
Guests on our tours have been able to see Minke Whales a few miles off Lennard Light. Minke Whales are the second smallest baleen whale. The Minke Whale is does not give us as much surface time as other whales. It breathes three to five times at short intervals before 'deep-diving' for two to 20 minutes. Deep dives are preceded by a pronounced arching of the back. The maximum swimming speed of Minkes has been estimated at 38 km/h (24 mph). Minke whales feed by side-lunging into schools of prey and gulping large amounts of water. Sea birds, attracted to the concentrated prey just below the surface, are sometimes associated with minke whale feeding and foraging. Minke whales opportunistically feed on crustaceans, plankton, and small schooling fish (e.g., anchovies, dogfish, capelin, coal fish, cod, eels, herring, mackerel, salmon, sand lance, saury, and wolfish).
We are also seeing many Humpback Whales in the same area as the Minke Whales. Humpback whales live in oceans around the world. They travel incredible distances every year and have one of the longest migrations of any mammal on the planet. Some populations swim 5,000 miles from tropical breeding grounds to colder, plentiful feeding grounds.
Also a baleen whale, the Humpback feed on shrimp-like krill and small fish. Humpback whales are a favorite of whale watchers, as they are generally found close to shore and are commonly surface active, including breaching (jumping out of the water), or slapping the surface with their pectoral fins and tails.
During the summer months, humpback whales spend most of their time feeding and building up fat stores (blubber) to sustain them throughout the winter. Humpback whales filter-feed on small crustaceans (mostly krill) and small fish, consuming up to 3,000 pounds of food per day. Humpback whales use several "tools" to help them herd, corral, and disorient prey, including: bubbles, sounds, the seafloor, and even pectoral fins.
We are still seeing Grey Whales and Killer Whales (not everyday) on our Whale Watching and Hot Spring Cove Tours in Tofino.