Poseidon’s mother, Whiskers, a humpback whale named for the cat face on her fluke. (Jared Towers image)

Poseidon’s mother, Whiskers, a humpback whale named for the cat face on her fluke. (Jared Towers image)

One-year-old humpback resurfaces near Port McNeill

Port Alice students nicknamed the baby whale Poseidon last year

Poseidon, the adolescent humpback, is back in town for North Islanders.

The one-year-old whale was first spotted last year in Neroutsos Inlet at Port Alice, swimming around with its mother, Whiskers. She’s named for the cat-like image on her tail. Poseidon was named by the students at Port Alice’s Sea View school for its three stripes, which they thought resembled Poseidon’s trident.

The humpback has returned, unusually, to the other side of the Island. It’s been spotted feeding near Port McNeill and as far down as Telegraph Cove. The return, while exciting for whale watchers and those who recognize the youngster, also comes with warnings for boaters.

READ MORE: Humpback calf named in honour of whale-loving B.C. girl who died of rare genetic disease

Humpback whales were nearly extinct to the point where boaters forgot about their unpredictable behaviour. These whales act differently from orcas, who travel in pods and tend to traverse in relatively straight lines. Orcas also use echolocation, so they’re likely to be aware of boats and more easily avoid them.

However, humpbacks can get as large as a school bus, and can become “suddenly acrobatic” when they are feeding. Their movements are fast, powerful and unpredictable, said Jackie Hildering, co-founder of the Marine Education and Research Society (MERS).

They are a threat to boaters, who likewise are a threat to the whales.

“It’s a horrible thing to say but it is going to lead to a fatality,” Hildering said, adding that education about marine mammals is missing from boater licensing in B.C., both for small craft operators and larger vessels. MERS runs an awareness campaign called “see a blow, go slow” that’s aimed at getting watercraft operators to be aware of mammal life below.

“Humpbacks can surface anywhere along the coast,” Hildering said, noting the recent collision between a humpback and the Washington State Ferry.

“Poseidon is hungry. He or she has come up from warm waters where there’s little to nothing to eat.” Humpbacks whales in this area are most often lunge feeders, which means they speed through water dense with fish or krill — often balls of herrings — with a wide open mouth to collect all they can.

READ MORE: Southern resident orca who carried her dead calf is pregnant again

If they’re feeding at the surface, you might see gulls also eating the herring, which is an indicator of where they might surface. But if they’re deep-water fishing, their whereabouts are unknown.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

 

MERS catalogue photo of Poseidon showing the trident-like marking (Darrel McIntosh image)

MERS catalogue photo of Poseidon showing the trident-like marking (Darrel McIntosh image)

Just Posted

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

A Vancouver Island teacher has started a petition imploring B.C. Premier John Horgan to close provincial borders to non-essential travel and enforce stricter quarantine measures for travellers. (B.C. government)
Teacher launches petition for B.C. to close provincial border, impose stricter quarantine

Province says what works elsewhere may not work here as they look into legalities of such actions

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

A seller on UsedVictoria.com has listed signed, first editions of the first three Game of Thrones books. (UsedVictoria.com)
Winter is coming: 1st edition, signed Game of Thrones books for sale in Greater Victoria

Three signed Game of Thrones books listed on Used Victoria for $6,000

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Mowi Canada West’s Sheep Pass salmon farm, the company’s final B.C. operation to receive certification from the Aquaculture Steward Council. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) is questioning a government decision to phase out salmon farms in the Discovery Islands. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada West)
Canadian Federation of Agriculture backs B.C. salmon farmers

Letter to prime minister calls for federal “champion” for aquaculture growth

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. [CDC]
Lake Cowichan daycare closes for 10 days due to COVID-19 exposure

A client at Creative Angels Daycare came in contact with someone who tested positive

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

Former town councillor and long-time volunteer John Marinus was presented with the Freedom of the Town in 2017 by then-Mayor Paul Ives. Facebook/Town of Comox photo
Five-term Comox councillor, long-serving volunteer John Marinus passes away

He was presented the Freedom of the Town award in 2017

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Most Read