The Comeback of the Humpbacks!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Have you ever seen a Humpback Whale resting?

Can I just say it is truly one of the most adorable things I have ever seen? (I’ve lived and seen a lot!) It is sooooo intimate to watch another living being rest or sleep. It is like when you realize someone is asleep on the couch and you want everyone to be quiet (I’m a mom). Imagine in an ocean environment finding a safe, protected enough spot to just ‘rest’ in the WILD.

Bearing witness to this is remarkable and it makes me think about how exposed these creatures are to so many environmental factors, ship strikes, general human disturbances, yet still there is a spot on this earth that this animal can rest! Truly remarkable!

For 20 years I have had the unique privilege of spending A LOT of time on the waters of the West Coast of Canada, mostly in a kayak and sometimes onboard the Lukwa……(that’s another story)

  •  20 Years ago I didn’t see a humpback. No breaching, no trap feeding, no tail flukes and definitely not resting humpbacks. Not one.
  • 14 Years ago (on our inaugural sea kayak voyage as a family of four – 2 year old and a 6 week old) maybe a few over a week long trip.
  • 5 Years ago we began to rely on the sightings of these outstanding creatures, literally making our day, as we’d spend 3 hours watching them breach, tail fluke, breathe, pectoral fins slapping
  • The last few years we have come to depend on seeing these guys, being in among 5, 8 sometimes in one day in a small area seeing 20 individuals. We have observed moms return with their young, unique feeding behaviour, posturing when orcas area in the area, and yes, last summer for the first time, RESTING humpbacks.

To me this represents everything, it is a symbol of hope, protection, awareness and education.

To me this represents everything, it is a symbol of hope, protection, awareness and education. These whales have some vigilant and tough human advocates that have literally dedicated their lives to protecting them. Our kids think it’s ‘normal’ to go out for 3 hours and see several humpbacks, to know them by name, WOW…..look how far we’ve come.

Being a hardcore optimist, this is my take…..

Humpbacks in this area were whaled intensely until the 1960’s. Over 40 harvested in 1965 alone. Hunted to near extinction.

Fast Forward to August 2018 – Johnstone Strait, I sit in the wheel house of the Lukwa, a retired whaler, his grandson and a boat captain are out on the water looking at humpbacks together. “That’s about a 40 footer” he says. Looking through his binoculars, his grandson begins to ask the questions. 3 generations, observing 2 generations.

Is there hope?

The message, stay connected or get connected. What we do everyday matters to those around us (including the non human creatures). Make decisions that you know are considerate to these gorgeous mammals and our planet….Be the change!