A Living Classroom Experience

A migrating group of 8 kun humpback whales put on a show for Dave Wahl’s grade 7 graduating class who were travelling to T’aalan Stl’ang this week. The intelligent kun were bubble net feeding on iinang herring and other fish. The unique feeding method makes it easier for the kun to capture more fish and eat their catch all at once. The kun use their large flukes and bodies to target a ball of iinang herring or other small fish and they then swim in circles to corral the small fish or krill into a circular area. The bubbles created by their circular movements and underwater releases of air create a bubble net around the fish. The whales then thrust their heads and bodies upwards with their mouths open and filter the fish and water through their baleens to feed at the same time. The savvy kun are able to be more efficient in their food fishing while in groups. The students learnt that while the kun are beautiful and smart they sure have smelly fish breathe. The stench hangs in the air long after the kun have disappeared back into the water.

Be Whale Wise: Allowing the kun to feed and pass is the best course of action when approaching areas of known or suspected marine wildlife activity. The boats watched for a few minutes, took photos, let their engines idle while the whales fed and allowed the kun to move away and carried on their way noting the pods location in their logs and warned others in the area over the radio. It was exciting and the group honoured the whales in their natural environment with great awe.

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