Great Bear Lodge guests join whales for breakfast in rare sighting

Great Bear Lodge guests join whales for breakfast in rare sighting

Outdoors

Great Bear Lodge guests join whales for breakfast in rare sighting

Staff members of Great Bear Lodge in British Columbia witnessed a rare occurrence right next to their floating lodge Saturday and rushed to wake up the 10 guests at 6 a.m. so they wouldn’t miss out on the incredible sight.

Humpback whales were bubble-net feeding within a stone’s throw of the dock.

“Of course, when they came down in their robes, the whales had moved away,” Marg Leehane, co-owner of the lodge, told BNQT. “But we kept watching for the whales, and eventually they came back. We had to rush the guests from one dock back to this one to make sure they didn’t miss it.

“It was so cool to see them bubble netting so close, to see the fish jumping out of the way as the whales rose up.”

Last year was the first time they’ve seen whales bubble-net feeding in their area, Leehane said.

Bubble-net feeding is when whales blow a circle of bubbles around a school of baitfish to trap them. One whale then sounds a feeding call and the whales simultaneously rush to the surface with mouths open, feeding on the trapped fish.

Leehane told BNQT they’ve seen a lot of baitfish in the inlet this year so a whale or two have been visiting the area since the season began in May. But normally they see them at a distance of half a mile to over a mile.

“This is definitely the first time we’ve seen whales feeding so close to the dock!” Leehane told BNQT. “The closest I’ve seen them feeding before is probably 200 meters [220 yards], so it was quite a surprise to us when they decided to come so close!”

Also on BNQT: Orca tows sailboat across harbor

Great Bear Lodge, a popular destination to view grizzly bears in a remote area at the end of Smith Inlet within the Great Bear Rainforest, is located 50 air miles from Vancouver Island’s Port Hardy and is accessible via floatplane.

“We focus on bears out here of course, but we’re all wildlife geeks,” Leehane told BNQT. “So get really excited about seeing anything to do with nature, as you can see from the video!”

Photo of feeding whales is a screen grab. Photo of lodge courtesy of Great Bear Lodge

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