Nestled in an idyllic bay on British Columbia’s beautiful Pacific Ocean, the Great Bear Lodge emerges from a gentle fog, surrounded by pine trees. It’s a wondrous place to view wildlife, and recently guests at the lodge were treated to a spectacular event.
Guests at this lodge witnessed something remarkable
Roused from sleep and many still in bathrobes, everyone ambled down to the lower dock to view the scene before them: A group of hungry humpback whales had stopped in for breakfast, GlobalNewsCanada reports.
As the guests looked on, a circle of bubbles rippled the water. The humpbacks were engaging in a technique known as bubble netting. It’s an amazingly efficient way for these large mammals to capture plankton and small fish. The whales gather in a circle and blow clouds of bubbles that effectively corral their prey so that they can easily scoop it up in their enormous mouths, ScienceDaily reports. With one quick lunge, the whales snaffle up their food. And because they are baleen whales, humpbacks are filter feeders. This, in essence, means they strain their meals.
The whales communicate with each other to determine the best places to set their bubble nets, Shareably reports. Gathering in groups that can reach up to 60 individuals, whales feast on herring, small salmon, and krill.
Guests were enthralled with their huge visitors
At one point a woman even high-fived a guide from the lodge.
In a YouTube video that quickly went viral and now has more than 607,000 views, more than a few positive comments popped up.
“Awesome mind-blowing gestures by that lady!” in reference to the guest with the high-five response.”
Another commenter wanted to know:
“Where is this incredible place?”
Undoubtedly the guests who were treated to this intimate scene of nature will never forget this. Humpback whales are truly astounding. I’ve spent time with them and they are truly huge! They often use their tail flukes to stun prey, and when these huge tails rise out of the water, it’s like watching a skyscraper go up — they are truly enormous.
The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) belongs to the same family as the blue whale. Females are often larger than males, reaching a length of up to 50 feet, while males range up to 48 feet. Astoundingly, even though they weigh as much as 40 tons, they can breach completely out of the water.
Guests at the lodge were lucky to see these whales
And unlike many species that are sadly in decline, there’s good news for humpback whales. Their populations are actually increasing, and they are considered a species of least concern by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.
This is truly wonderful news because these whales were very nearly hunted to extinction, with only 8,000 of the whales left in the 1960s. Fortunately, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned this practice in the 1960s, and their numbers are rebound. It’s estimated that there are now 30,000-40,000 humpback whales. While that’s still only about 30 percent of their original population, this is still good news.
Here’s the stunning video of the hungry whales in action.