Monday, September 22, 2008

Humpback Whales and Sea Otters

After fishing Nootka Bay for one last time and catching one coho we headed toward Friendly Cove. We soon put our engines in neutral to watch a pair of Humpback whales hunt. Humpbacks summer on the west coast and winter in either Hawaii or Mexico which leads me to believe that the entire group fully understands retirement!

Humpback whales average 48 feet in length and are25 to 35 tons. They are baleen whales who primarily eat small schooling fish. Whales are identified by their blow and their fins. Occasionally they will show their tails on a deep dive or do acrobatic breaches. Unfortunately we have been so spellbound with these activities they are not among our photos.

Following the whale show we were entertained by a group of three sea otters in Friendly Cove. Sea otters were hunted to near extinction for their fur. Sea otter size is closely related to the abundance of food. Typicially, a male will be five feet in length and weigh 70 lbs. They are key to the health of the inlets because they eat sea urchins which would decimate the kelp beds if not controlled. Kelp beds are important not only for my unappreciated salad recipes but because they provide nursery shelters for young fish.

Sea otters eat and nurse their young while swimming on their backs. As they entertained us they porpoised, rolled and curiously looked at us. They have been protected since 1911 and are not uncommon in Nootka Sound

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