“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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Ucluelet dedicates off-leash dog park

“I think it’s great. Dogs need a space to run.”

Ucluelet artists launch pop-up art exhibition

Heyduck & Butler opened on July 1 and will run until August 31.

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Tofino and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation release joint statement welcoming ‘respectful’ tourists

“We have adapted to the new landscape and are very eager to welcome you back.”

Province backs Hesquiaht First Nation hydro project with $4.1M

Ah’ta’apq Creek Hydropower Project would decrease First Nation’s dependence on diesel.

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Man who rammed gate near Trudeau residence with truck faces multiple charges

The man, who police have not yet officially identified, will be charged with multiple offences

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

Southeast District Commander wants to increase Police and Crisis Team program

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight on Vancouver Island

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

Most Read