There is never a dull moment on the water for our guides, however, some moments are definitely more memorable than others. Below are some highlights from this past summer for our guides - Travis, Ronnie, and Brady.
It was a beautiful and blustery summer evening in Tofino. Swell was building and naturally we were a little hesitant to head out to sea. All day the office was buzzing with excitement and stories of Kakawin playing in Clayoquot Sound.
After clocking out, we suited up and made our way down to the dock. To manage guest expectations, our skipper Jesse played it cool and briefly mentioned that Orca had been sighted earlier that day. We departed from the harbour and made our way north on the inside of Vargas Island. As we entered the inside of Flores Island, the waters were calm and breeze was warm. We immediately spotted the Kakawin playing close to shore. They were actively breaching, spy-hopping and tail slapping; even the babies knew what to do!
The Tla-o-qui-aht word for whale is Ihtuup. “Ih” means “really big” and “tuup” means “animal” or “creature”. Very soon we will be welcoming back a “REALLY BIG CREATURE”, our migrating Gray Whales! After wintering in the warm water lagoons of Baja California, Mexico, 18 to 24,000 whales will pass our BC shores towards the summer feeding grounds of the Bering, Chuckchi and Beaufort Seas. This 15-20,000 km round-trip migration is one of the longest known mammalian migrations.
Here in Tofino, we are fortunate to enjoy them within 5-km of shore and in shallow waters. Not all whales complete the migration north and instead spend their summer feeding in our local waters. These are what we fondly refer to as our “summer residents”. Gray Whales mostly feed in shallow areas using their baleen to strain out small invertebrates from the soft muddy bottom. Gray Whales can also be seen during summer months feeding on herring eggs and larvae found in eel grass beds.