Humpback whales have been returning to the waters off Victoria over the past 10 years however when I started documenting killer whales, it was not common to see them. Over that period of time, more humpback whales have returned during the summer months and have been bringing their calves with them. In 2007, I captured an image of a young humpback whale with a freshly cut dorsal fin (probable vessel strike) and had been sliced into two parts. His scientific name is BCY0324 and nickname is Splitfin.
I set out on a whale watching boat on August 6, 2009. We had just arrived at the Sooke basin when we sighted two humpback whales. I was having a conversation with the captain of the boat, about how neither one of us had ever witnessed a breaching humpback whale when at that very moment, a whale flew out of the water!
The two humpback whales breached together several times. One of the two humpbacks breached more than 50 times in a row! We identified that humpback whale as (BCY0324) Splitfin! The exuberant nature of the juvenile humpback whale had every passenger gasping for air. It was one of the most thrilling oceanic encounters of my life, and I have been fortunate to have many. Splitfin continues to return to the waters off Victoria each summer and is known by many whale watchers and scientists.
Splitfin reminds us that we share our world together and that we are in closer proximity to one another than we realize. These humpbacks have returned to these waters after nearly a 100 years of absence. The original humpback whales were commercially hunted to extinction, before that it was said the sea bubbled with humpback whales. In recent years, new humpbacks from other parts of the coast have claimed these waters as their home and we are thrilled they have returned.
Message: Remember, we are connected to nature and our behaviours are felt on land and at sea.