Outdoor Adventure

Wildlife Viewing

Searching for Giants

Everything You Need to Know About the Elusive Humpback Whale

Humpback whales are a common sight in Northern British Columbia, where they can be seen feeding and frolicking in the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. These majestic creatures are known for their distinctive shape and fascinating behaviours, which have made them a popular attraction for whale watchers.

Humpback whales are large, aquatic mammals that belong to the baleen whale family. They are named for the distinctive hump on their back, which is visible when they arch their body to dive underwater. Humpback whales are easily distinguished from other whales by their long pectoral fins, which can be up to 15 feet in length. They also have a unique and elaborate system of grooves and ridges on their throat, which helps them to produce their characteristic songs.

Humpback whales are found in oceans all over the world, but Northern British Columbia is one of the best places to see them. The waters off the coast of British Columbia are rich in krill and other small marine life, which are the main food source for humpback whales. These whales can be seen feeding in the waters around Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii, where they use their powerful tail fins to create huge underwater bubbles that trap schools of krill.

Humpback whales are also known for their acrobatic behaviour, which often includes breaching (jumping out of the water) and slapping the surface of the water with their tail fins. These behaviours are thought to be used for communication and socializing, and they can be quite a sight to behold.

In addition to their fascinating behaviours, humpback whales are also important to the local ecosystem. They help to maintain the balance of the ocean by feeding on krill and other small marine life, and they also provide food for other predators such as orcas.

Despite their importance, humpback whales are still threatened by human activities such as pollution, entanglement in fishing gear, and ship strikes. Fortunately, conservation efforts are underway to protect these magnificent creatures, and whale watching regulations in British Columbia help to ensure that these animals are not disturbed by human activity.

Whale watching tours are offered late July-September. Click here for a list of tour operators: https://visitprincerupert.com/experience/wildlife-viewing/

Photographer Credit: Simon Ratcliffe

Ceilidh Marlow

Ceilidh Marlow is the Executive Director of Tourism Prince Rupert. Ceilidh’s favourite thing about living in Prince Rupert is the temperate year-round climate and the fresh air that results from the surrounding rainforest and coastal waters.

More By This Author