The Great Lakes Whale Migration has officially begun. While driving around the Old Mission Peninsula this morning, we spotted this Humpback Whale in West Bay near Power Island. We were super excited to see this big guy breach out of the water just off the island. So glad we decided to drive down Peninsula Drive. Fortunately, I had my camera ready to grab that photo.
While it’s still a little early for the annual whale migration around the Great Lakes, experts with The Watershed Center and Michigan Sea Grant are speculating that the high water levels around the Great Lakes are attracting a growing number of whales earlier in the season. This also might be the reason why whales stuck around northern Michigan throughout the summer and fall last year.
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We do know that water levels will likely continue to rise in the year ahead, so if that’s true, chances are good we’ll see a steady stream of whales throughout the northern Michigan region this year. If anyone has data to back up the water level/whale connection, tell us in the comments below.
Actually, when I look back at the start of last year’s whale migration, it was on this same day last year when we spotted one off the shore of Haserot Beach. So maybe this is becoming the norm.
As in previous years, Mission Point Lighthouse Manager Ginger Schultz says they will be offering whale rides for a nominal fee this summer, and since we’re all practicing social distancing right now, this is a great way to have some safe family fun. Proceeds will help fund special projects at the lighthouse, with a percentage also going to protect the Great Lakes whales.
I’ve heard rumors about a Great Lakes Whale Migration Festival over the past few years, but recently heard that’s on hold for the time being, until things start to ease up and it’s safe to gather together with friends. We’ll keep you updated with any news we hear.
I spoke with the folks at the Traverse City Visitor Center this morning, and they confirmed that they’re getting a lot of inquiries about the whale migration, and whale-watching trips scheduled for later in the summer are already selling out fast.
We also have some very exciting news about the Great Lakes Whale Migration in the coming days, so stay tuned to Old Mission Gazette and our social media channels for that.
Have you seen any whales yet around the Old Mission Peninsula or northern Michigan? Let us know in the comments below!