It’s not often you get to run with whales, but that’s exactly what I did one sunny day in June 2012, when I tried keeping up with a pair of humpbacks!

While I was out on Father Troy’s Trail looking for swallowtail butterflies and trailside orchids, I heard a whale breaching in the bay. I carefully approached the cliff’s edge to find a comfy spot to take in the show: two humpbacks were swimming along the Beamer, one of them exuberantly jumping out of the water every minute!

Humpback calf breaching right below me - Father Troy's Trail

Humpback calf breaching right below me – Father Troy’s Trail

As the whales got closer I could clearly see it was a mom and her calf, and it was the calf who was putting on the performance. The youngster continued to breach non-stop for over an hour, with mom quietly following in its ‘footsteps’:

Mom following closely - Father Troy's Trail

Mom following closely – Father Troy’s Trail

When the whales swam past me I was eager to see more, so I got up and started walking, then running, trying my best to keep up. The whales were so fast I had difficulty staying ahead of them even at full sprint, especially since I had to take care not to fall or step on any of the delicate trailside orchids:

Pink lady's slipper - Father Troy's Trail

Pink lady’s slipper – Father Troy’s Trail

After chasing the calf for a few minutes it veered away from the cliffs, choosing open water for the rest of its aquatic acrobatics and giving me a chance to catch my breath. What a day!