On Saturday evening there was a very loud, strange vocalization/echolocation sound coming from the hydrophones on the west side of San Juan Island. Way too loud to be an orca whale. It was a sperm whale! This was the first time since 1984 a sperm whale was recorded traveling and echolocating by the islands.
A few whale watch boats were lucky enough to see him up near Stuart Island earlier in the day. Later in the evening he was traveling south down Haro Strait.
The whale was first sighted along the north end of Vancouver Island in Johnston Strait about two months ago. He then apparently came south along the east end of Vancouver Island winding up in Haro Strait.
Here's some info on sperm whales:
Mature males average 16 metres (52 ft) in length but some may reach 20.5 metres (67 ft), with the head representing up to one-third of the animal's length. Plunging to 2,250 metres (7,382 ft), it is the second deepest diving mammal, following only the Cuvier's beaked whale.
The sperm whale is a prominent user of echolocation and communication, with vocalization as loud as 230 decibels underwater. It has the largest brain of any animal on Earth, more than five times heavier than a human's. Sperm whales can live for more than 60 years.
Here's a link if you'd like to listen to this majestic, powerful animal. Enjoy!
*Tom Averna with his son Nathan Averna runs Deer Harbor Charters, the oldest Whale Watch Operation in the San Juan Islands. (in Deer Harbor and Rosario, Orcas Island). The photo is a file photo.