“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

Pair killed in Bamfield bus crash were 18-year-old UVic students

The victims were a young woman from Manitoba and and a young man from the U.S.

Historic Oak Bay carriage house to be restored as rental property

New owner found for Annandale carriage house

CUPE 441 applies for mediation in SD63 school dispute

Members paid less than counterparts in other districts, says CUPE 441 president

Victoria Foundation thrilled to see sun shine on B.C.’s philanthropists, builders

Province declares September ‘Community Foundations Month’

Artistic mystery baffles Sidney

The salmon mosaic appears on a local planter near the bandshell in Beacon Park

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Most Read