David Rayner Photography | Canada whales 2014-09

WESTERN CANADA WHALES – September 2014
After much thought, I have decided to put the whales in a gallery of their own. This is not down to success, more to disappointment. Hopefully there will be opportunities for improvement and the future will see more species, better weather and more use made of any chances that come the photographer’s way. Enough said and on with what happened.
Unfortunately bad weather on the first boat trip (Tofino) was the principle reason for a nil sighting. However, a few Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals and Sea Otters were spotted (please see the wildlife gallery). On our second trip (Telegraph Cove) two species, Orca (Killer) and Humpback Whales were observed. The Orcas were followed for a while but regrettably there was no sign of their often spectacular behaviour such as breaching (a leap in the air) for which they, and other whales, are renowned. Photos (11 and 12) show the Orca ‘blowing’ – not water but condensed air with, perhaps some nasal mucus. The whales in photos (15, 23 and 24) are females and, as may be seen, the odd other Orca joins the prime subject, but sadly not in a terribly prominent way.
We had better luck, however, with the Humpbacks. First, for those like me who had not seen a whale close up before, the sheer size of Humpback Whale is staggering. The photo (11), in which the Humpback is showing about a third of its overall length, highlights the point. A Common Murre (Guillemot in Europe) like the one in the left foreground grows to about 17 ins. in length with a wingspan of 25 ins. A Humpback grows to between 40 and 50 feet, an Orca roughly half that size. And, of course, other whales grow much greater in length. Photos (23-27) give an indication of the overall length of a Humpback.
Many of the remaining Humpback photos are in groups that illustrate the movement of the rear half of the whale (12-20, 28-40, 41-45, 51-61 and 63-71). The underside of the tail (white, black markings) allows for unique identification of each whale – although with the current humpback images it appears that all the recognisable tails are from the same animal. At times a Humpback Whale would get very close to our boat and on one occasion dived under the front of the boat and emerged just beyond the stern (see photos 46-50 for whale emerging). Overall, however, one cannot escape the fact that generally the head of these whales surfaces first and is that part which is missing in more or less all of the photos. Clearly the report yet again would have to say ‘could do better’.

Humpback Whale (11)

Humpback Whale (11)

Humpback Whale (12)

Humpback Whale (12)

Humpback Whale (13)

Humpback Whale (13)

Humpback Whale (14)

Humpback Whale (14)

Humpback Whale (15)

Humpback Whale (15)

Humpback Whale (16)

Humpback Whale (16)

Humpback Whale (17)

Humpback Whale (17)

Humpback Whale (18)

Humpback Whale (18)

Humpback Whale (19)

Humpback Whale (19)

Humpback Whale (20)

Humpback Whale (20)

Humpback Whale (21)

Humpback Whale (21)

Humpback Whale (22)

Humpback Whale (22)

Humpback Whale (23)

Humpback Whale (23)

Humpback Whale (24)

Humpback Whale (24)

Humpback Whale (25)

Humpback Whale (25)

Humpback Whale (26)

Humpback Whale (26)

Humpback Whale (27)

Humpback Whale (27)

Humpback Whale (28)

Humpback Whale (28)

Humpback Whale (29)

Humpback Whale (29)

Humpback Whale (30)

Humpback Whale (30)