Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia - Whalewatching
Watching Whales on the Charlotte’s
Located adjacent to the whaling grounds of the fin, sperm, right and humpback whales, and poised on the migratory route of the gray whale, as well as being home to pods of killer whales, we provide a perfect opportunity for whale sightings during a leisurely porch-sit or beach picnic.
Every May for the past seven years, a great whale has been spotted close inshore where it trolls back and forth, digging up the clam beds with its powerful jaws.
Throughout the summer months, pods of killer whales may be spotted off our beaches in their pursuit of salmon.
The following are some of the great whales that can be spotted off our beach:
This 45 foot long, slow-moving whale inhabits islands and shorelines, making it easy prey for whalers, who have depleted stocks. The humpback whale is famous for the long ethereal songs it emits as it steers through the waters with its huge wing-like flippers.
Watch for its prominent dorsal fin as it arches its back sharply to begin a long dive.
This 45 ft Baleen whale passes through the waters off the Queen Charlottes Islands in its annual migration from Baja, Mexico to the Bering sea and points north, where Soviet fleets deliver gray whales harvested off Siberia to Aboriginal coastal settlements who subsist on the meat and oil of this whale.
This migration of the California gray is the longest of any mammal - 10,000 miles, taking 8 months to complete a round trip, with little food or rest.
Watch for the mottled hue caused by barnacles and skin pigments.
(Moby Dick): at 55 ft, this is the largest of the TOOTHED whales. Feeding on squid and fish, it often dives to depths of a mile or more, and remains under for at least an hour. The sperm whale is the most numerous of the great whales, roaming virtually all ice-free waters, and is still the most commercially hunted of all the great whales.
This 50 ft baleen whale, moving slowly along coast lines, is easy prey for whale hunters. It remains highly endangered despite protection since 1935, and now exists singly or in isolated pods.
Watch for the cap of calluses atop its head.
This 75 ft baleen whale is very streamlined and moves fast through a wide range of waters and so remains in relative abundance, despite its value to Korean, Japanese and Soviet whaling fleets. Watch for their spume, which ascends up to 20 feet, following dives that last 10-15 minutes.
A wash up of this very fast (up to 20 knot sprints) 50 ft whale on the coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands poses yet another unanswered question in the mystery surrounding whales.
MORE ON WHALES - Scientists claim that sixty million years ago, four-legged mammals descended into the water. Hind legs disappeared, front legs turned into flippers, hair became a blanket of blubber, nostrils moved to the top of the head, tail broadened into flukes. But they remain mammals because they breathe air - through valved nostrils (their spume is an exhalation of spent breath, and also contains salt water collected in their air passages); have warm blood, bear their young alive, and feed them milk; they have remnants of hair around their lips, and swim through the water by driving their flukes up and down, rather than swishing their tails back and forth like fish. They have a large complex brain used for acoustic perception in the dark depths, which make hearing their most useful sense. Their cries and whistles carry for hundreds of miles thru the ocean depths.
The blue whale larger than any of the dinosaurs.
BALEEN is a wall of bristly slats that grow from the upper jaw of the whale, and acts as a strainer. Baleen whales may gulp at their prey or swim openmouthed thru sea-meadows of plantkon, or beds of clams, squirting out the liquid and swallowing the minute animals and fish. They often have paired blowholes.
TOOTHED whales are fast and aggressive, eating fish and squid, which they grab with their jaws and swallow whole, to be digested in multi-chambered stomachs.
ALL WHALES feed in the summer in cooler latitudes, then migrate to warmer waters to breed and give birth. Sexual maturity comes 6 and 11 years of age, and pregnancies last one year, with rarely more than one offspring. Great whales live 60 years or more.
KILLER Whales (orcas)
This 25 feet dolphin, hunts in packs and eats fish, seals, and occasionally will attack a great whale.
|www.beachcabins.com Rapid Richie’s
Box 667 Masset,
Queen Charlotte Islands / Haida Gwaii
British Columbia, Canada
Tel: 250-626-5472 Cell/Voice