Humpback Whales – Sutil Channel, Discovery Islands Archipelago

Big Animal Encounters

I joined a four hour whale watching tour with Big Animal Encounters. Dressed in warm dry suits, we boarded the zodiac, Fast Forward and headed out towards Sutil Channel, a channel within the Discovery Islands archipelago.

Humpback Whales

Today’s humpbacks were sleepy and lazy, slowly swimming around the channel. The only bit of action involved a couple of juvenile orcas and a juvenile humpback chasing each other. Because of the strictly enforced laws in place to protect the whales, we couldn’t approach as a different pair of orcas were off our bow. We had to stay put and watch both the pair of orcas in front of the boat – 400ft off in the distance as required by law, and the young whales chasing each other off in the distance.

To read about the orcas we saw on this tour, click the link below:

Orcas – Sutil Channel, Discovery Islands Archipelago

How to Spot a Humpback Whale

Humpback whale spouts are tall, and very visible even from a distance. Here are pictures of what a humpback whale spout looks like:

Humpback Flukes

A whale’s tail is called a fluke. They are as unique as a finger print, and used to identify whales. Our captain told us to watch for when a humpback whale arches his/her back, they are about to dive. This will be the opportunity to see their fluke! I was able to capture this moment three times during our tour!

My pictures are zoomed in, cropped. We were not as close as it is appears in the pictures.

Humpback Fluke – Vancouver Island Coastal Mountains

Best Picture


Humpback Fluke – Playing in the Waves

Best Picture


Humpback Fluke – Mount Doogie Dowler

One of the coastal mountains on British Columbia’s mainland has a unique appearance – twin peaks like a cowboy hat, called Mount Doogie Dowler. To read more about Mount Doogie Dowler, click here.

Best Picture


Sutil Channel was once a location for whale hunting. Whales that were killed were then brought to a port on Cortez Island, where they were processed for food and the like. According to what I was able to research on the Internet, whaling in Canada was banned in 1986. Our captain indicated that in the last 20 years, the whale population has slowly increased in Sutil Channel. Perhaps they feel safe enough to return….

World famous environmentalist, David Suzuki is a resident of the Discovery Island archipelago. This is comforting, knowing someone with this much environmental influence has a home in the area. That said, most locals of the archipelago are fiercely protective of the whales. They watch each other, making sure the government laws in place to protect the whales are respected.

It makes my heart sick, the slaughtering of whales, dolphins, marine life…and animal life. Sometimes I think I’m in the wrong profession. My true calling seems to be wanting to somehow protect animals from humans who hunt for sport. But, that it not the topic of this blog.

At this time, I share my passion for the ocean and its many inhabitants by blogging about my adventures.

But is that enough? I’m truly thinking about that….

S, 🐋

6 Comments Add yours

  1. mama says:

    So happy your four hour trip was well worth the time. To see even
    from a distance a Humpback Whale 🐳 🐋 arch his/her back … is a definite WOW moment … and to see their Fluke as they dive….would take my breath away… You have some very special moments stored in that beautiful head of your’s. Life is good !!! Love ya mama 👵🏻😍🤗

    1. Yes, it was a wonderful experience for sure! Love you too, mama!!! ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Amazing.
    And that looks like one hell of a boat with those two engines on.
    Cheers to you JF.
    All the best,

    1. It was a powerful boat for sure! Lots of fun!! All the best to you too!!

  3. Hello Stephanie,
    Seeing this was my final tipping point.
    Thanks for your inspiration, I have just bought a speedboat.
    Its just having some work done, then I am going to scare myself to death in the Sussex sea.
    Once again I am in your debt.
    All the very best to you JS.

    1. Awesome Laurence!!!!! Have a blast, zooming along the Sussex Sea!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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