Although travellers and locals alike have come to expect and anticipate the arrival of the summer belugas, there has also been an increase in surprising whale activity over the last few years.
Orca whales sightings have peaked over the last five years. According to Remi Allen of Sea North Tours, orca whales have made their way into the Hudson Bay every year since 2011. Even 10 years ago it would have been rare to see orcas in the Hudson Bay, but due to climate change in the north and increasing lack of sea ice, orcas are able to move through the Hudson Bay more freely than before. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) or communities farther north often report on these sightings first.
In 2014, the orca whale sighting was relayed to Sea North Tours and they were able to capture great images of this occurrence. When orcas show up in the Hudson Bay thousands of beluga whales will huddle together in shallow waters, where orcas do not typically travel, to protect themselves from this predator.
Last summer there was another unusual whale sighting. A bowhead whale was spotted in the Churchill area in early July and Remi Allen spent an hour watching this magnificent marine mammal during a Capelin feeding frenzy near the Port of Churchill. This wasn’t Remi’s first time seeing a bowhead in the Churchill area. Three years prior he spotted one further out in the Hudson Bay.
A photo posted by Alex de Vries-Magnifico (@discover_churchill) on Jul 17, 2015 at 2:57pm PDT
Churchill might be known for its beluga whales in the summer time, but it appears other marine mammals are making an appearance more often than before.
Photo © Cole Moszynski