Off-Season Down Under
Monday, April 16, 2012
During the Sonora off-season, I've been enjoying the warmth of the Australian summer. Here the whale migrations we see at Sonora are reversed. Most cetacean species in Australian waters head to Antarctica during the summer, just as they head to our coast and the Arctic in the northern hemisphere summer. Interestingly, the British Columbian coastline plays a similar role in feeding cetaceans to that of Antarctica.
Our coastline plays a similar role in feeding cetaceans to that of Antarctica. We too have powerful upwelling currents that lead to the growth of phytoplankton. This vital aquatic plant feeds krill, which in turn attracts thousands of animals to our coastline.
This season of growth and migration is about to begin on the coast of British Columbia. The gray whales, en route from Mexico to the northern Bering Sea, are beginning to reach our coast. These, along with the Pacific white-sided dolphins, Dall's porpoises, killer whales, and many others will soon arrive in the waters off Sonora.
For me, the new season is always exciting: each year is different and our understanding of natural systems grows a little more.
Will the resident Orca—frequently sighted this past winter—arrive earlier this year? Will the upsurge in transient killer whale activity of the past four seasons continue?
The resort opens in May, and we will soon see the mysteries of the new season unfurl before our eyes.
Aaron Nagler, Sonora Wilderness Guide