Watching Beluga Whales
Considered one of the best wildlife encounters, Sea North Tours have been delighting people with their whale watching tours of Hudson Bay. Visitors put on an artic wetsuit to slip into the chilly waters to snorkel with Beluga whales.
Each summer, 3,000 to 5,000 of these blubbery white mammals congregate at the mouth of the Churchill River in Manitoba where they nosh on schools of tiny capelin and calve their young. For over 20 years, Mike Macri-the owner and operator of Sea North Tours -has been taking clients out in his boat to see the beluga whales in comfort, but more and more are choosing to snorkel with the graceful creatures. Enjoy these photos from a Sea North tour.
Underwater Beluga are actually holding their breath. Because its vertebrae are not fussed together as is the case for many other whales and dolphins, Belugas can turn their head laterally, giving it a playful appearance.
Linnea Ingebrigtson, Zodiac driver heading back from a tour. Notice the iceberg in the background.
The Churchill River break-up varies but usually occurs early to mid June. The icebergs remain throughout the summer months.
Like all other whales beluga have lungs instead of gills so must surface to breathe. The shape of a Beluga head will change when it’s blowing air around its blowhole.
The sociable Beluga spend time together in pods. Groups of males can number in the hundreds with mother and calves making up smaller groups.
Whales are often injured when they collide into ship propellers. These collisions are not always fatal but they can cause severe wounds. For this reason, Mike Macri uses the Sea North II, which has no propellers.
The Zodiacs used are equipped with clean quiet four stroke outboards and are operated by Churchill’s most experienced river pilots.