Each year hundreds of humpbacks travel the waters of the Inside Passage through the Great Bear Rainforest and Heiltsuk territory. I knew this before I began my journey to Namu but I will be the first to admit, I didn’t really understand the magnitude of what lay ahead.
Before I share what happened I day 2 of the swim, I thought I should share a little about the humpbacks of Lama Pass. Here’s what I have learned about these magnificent whales:
- Humpbacks are currently listed as an endangered species.
- A fully grown humpback whale can weigh more than 5 adult elephants (5 x 15,000 = 75,000 pounds) and can grow to an average length of 40-60 ft. long.
- Humpback whales can dive for up to 30 minutes to a depth of 500-700 feet, but usually last only up to 15 minutes. That is a long time under water before you see them surface again.
- Humpbacks move at about 5 to 15 km per hour. During feeding, they’ll slow to 2 to 5.5 km/h. When they want to really move they can speed up to about 25 km/h. There is a good chance I will not see them coming.
- A baleen whale, humpbacks have baleen plates instead of teeth and are limited to consuming small aquatic animals and eat mostly small fish, krill, salmon, herring, mackerel and capelin. Phewwww!
- Humpbacks feed during the summer months often hunting in cooperative groups of 15 using a technique known as bubble net fishing.
- The humpback’s whale songs can be often be heard during mating season; they aren’t typically heard during feeding season.