Welcoming Whales

a Multi-platform Project

Sound of humpback whales & sea lions breathing. Increase |||||| on speaker for more volume. Note: the long, deep breaths are the humpbacks, the shorter faster breaths are the sea lions

Phase 1: Film & Website: exploring the human-whale connection


In 2019 it will be 50 years since the bloody hunt that wiped out 90% of the ocean’s whales ended in Canadian waters. Migrating humpback whales are starting to return to their old feeding grounds in the Salish Sea on Canada’s Pacific coast. How can humans; fishers, whale watchers, recreational and commercial boaters, and local residents welcome and get to know their new large neighbours?

Two local filmmakers are determined to find out.  With a classic sailboat and dreams of singing  whales they embark on an intrepid journey –  to learn how to make friends with humpback whales in the Salish Sea.

May 2015: Phase 1 Film Work Plan

The Summer of 2015 was intended to be a research season for the project. Instead it turned out to be a season of moving home and work and repairing boats and boat engine [SEE BLOG for DETAILS].

Feb 2016:  START AGAIN: Continue Phase 1

A reading of the 2015 monthly Whale journals blog will quickly reveal that, during our first research season, we filmmakers got as far out on the Salish Sea as the beach at low tide.. Unfortunately life got in the way in the form of a complex move that dragged on from April through August. Then refusal of the carburetor on their sailboat engine to quit leaking and cooperate with the work plan schedule ate up September – Jan. 2016.

Finally, thanks to a local skipper and a virtuoso mechanic  we will start again in the Spring of 2016 with a purring engine and overhauled carburetor.  In retrospect, though frustrating, it doesn’t hurt to have another year of research under our belts (along with a bit of winter fat) and whale song in our hearts.

“How to make friends with your local whales” is still the story on which 2016 filming will focus. The filmmakers will be living on the water in their sailboat for weeks at a time. We plan to film humpback whales as they go about their natural business making their living in the Salish Sea. We hope that local humpbacks will become familiar with the boat and us. We certainly won’t be chasing  whales but if they are curious enough to approach the boat we will welcome their attentions. We will also attempt to communicate with them.

We are also searching for humans who have whale or dolphin friends so we can consult with them about how they developed their relationships. In fact  Phase I could be called “How to Make Friends With Whales”.

Of course it’s helpful to find a whale first. Even then, the whale or dolphin may not be interested in having a human friend. Here’s hoping a cetacean or two are willing to honour us… or humour us. Stay tuned!

Phase I: The Website

The website platform of the project dives deeper into human – whale relationship questions. Can humans and cetaceans communicate with each other telepathically? Can humans learn whale and dolphin languages?  Can we understand each others’ cultures?  even learn how to work together for the health of the oceans?

The website will feature:

  • audio recordings of humpback whale language and song with links to research into cetacean language being done around the world.
  • inter-species communication techniques – exercises you can do in real time – with links to websites of indigenous trackers and animal communicators practicing telepathic communication and teaching these skills
  • fascinating facts about life in the ocean and ocean health – with links to advocacy groups and campaigns you may want to join
  • the universe according to whales – how whales perceive the world through their unique physiology


To say that a humpback whale is merely large depends on your perspective. When a 16m (52ft) whale swims under your 3m (9ft) boat your voice tends to rise rise 2 octaves in breathless excitement!

A Humpback named “KC” (Kelp Creature) steaming up Jervis Inlet past our 3m(9 ft) inflatable dinghy.