“Spock” was identified at the beginning of July. Photo by Peter Hamilton/Lifeforce Ocean Friends

Photographer ID’s two new humpback visitors in Island waters

Lifeforce’s Peter Hamilton thinks whales might be from Hawaii or Mexico

Last summer, it was one whale; this summer it was two for a Vancouver Island environmentalist and photographer.

Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Ocean Friends founder, took photos of the first humpback whale on July 1 and July 21 in the waters near Comox.

On July 27, he was out on the waters again when he came across the second whale and snapped photographs as well.

Lifeforce Ocean Friends has worked with the Marine Research and Education Society (MERS) to identify the humpbacks They have since determined this was the first time the whales’ visits to the region were recorded. Hamilton said the photographs are being posted in the MERS Humpbacks of Northern Vancouver Island catalog.

“They are first-time visitors when they have not been previously ID’ed for the catalog,” he said in an email to Black Press.

As of 2019, Lifeforce has contributed 32 photos to the catalog, though Hamilton adds some of these are improved photos of animals in previous submissions.

RELATED STORY: Injured humpback returns to waters off Comox a year later

The two have been given nicknames. The first is being called “Spock.” Hamilton explains this is based on the humpback’s unusual dorsal fin. It is pointed in a shape similar to the ears of the character Spock from Star Trek.

The second was nicknamed “Harbor.” The animal has a white pigmentation shape on the left side of its fluke that, Hamilton says, resembles a harbour seal. As well, he says the name is to encourage safe harbour in order to cherish and protect the animals.

“Getting to nickname a humpback is certainly a special honour,” Hamilton said. “Lifeforce continues our very important research that started in 1993. It has led to increased protection for orcas, and now we hope that it will raise public awareness of the plight of humpbacks and others. As their numbers increase in local waters they are being entangled in fishing gear and severely injured by boaters.”

He is not sure of the age of the humpback whales, but he thinks they might have come from waters around Hawaii or Mexico.

READ MORE: Breaches, belly-flops and a close encounter with humpback whales

In July, 2018, Hamilton had photographed another humpback with a plane-type mark on its fluke. The whale made more than 20 repeated breaches when it was first seen in local waters. He nicknamed it “Arial.”



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

“Harbor” was seen in local waters in late July. Photo by Peter Hamilton/Lifeforce Oceans Friends

Just Posted

Algae bloom killing farmed fish on Vancouver Island’s West Coast

DFO says four Cermaq Canada salmon farms affected, fish not infectious

New vice principal loving life at Ucluelet Elementary School

“I’m enjoying getting to know all the teachers and staff.”

‘Finding Solitude’ film premieres in Tofino and Ucluelet

“This film is about protecting our lands.”

School District 70 proposes new school names, asks for public feedback

Board of education suggests new names for the district and two of its schools

Washout brings delays to drivers heading in and out of Tofino-Ucluelet

West Coast commuters are facing delays Tuesday morning.

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Most Read