WATCH: Paddlers have a new close encounter with the English Bay humpback.
Whale song is echoing through English Bay, and it’s music to the local whale watching industry’s ears.
A humpback has been camping out in the area, much to the delight of locals, who have transformed it into a social media celebrity.
But Jilann Lechner with Wild Whales Vancouver says it’s not a fluke or a one-off; in the six years she’s been with the company, the majestic whales have become an ever more common sighting.
“Ever year we seem to have a few more humpback sightings than the year before. In previous years we would focus on seeing orca, and we still do. But now, [there’s] more and more of our trips where you get to see orca and humpbacks, which is great.”
She says right now, clients are being treated to a sighting of the big whale on about half of their trips, which has everyone excited.
It’s not the first time a large whale has captivated the city. Last autumn a grey whale (or possibly two) appeared in English Bay, thrilling locals.
Lechner says they come to feed in the Boundary Bay area, and it’s not unusual to run into them either.
Lechner says the boom in sea life has come with a boost in business.
“We’ve been – especially during peak season in the summer time, we’ve got more business than we can even handle so we’re definitely looking to expand because of that, it’s been a great thing for us.”
And things could get busier.
Last year’s orca baby boom has caught the attention of locals, who she says normally only make up about 10% of sales.
“I do expect it to go up because those births were such a big deal to the local community. So we are expecting to get more local people because of it.”
Experts say that boom, which saw eight calves born in a year, were a product of a healthy salmon run.