Humpbacks in Lama Pass!

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.



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