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Canada

Marine life

Sea mammals

There is only one creature in the water that fears no enemy other than humans: the killer whale (orca), so named because its diet includes seals, belugas and other whales. Their aerodynamic bodies, signature black-and-white coloration and incredible speed (up to 40km/h) make them the Ferraris of the aquatic world. They’re most commonly seen around Vancouver Island and along the Inside Passage to Alaska.

Other whale species frolic in eastern waters, such as around the Fundy Isles in New Brunswick, the tip of Digby Neck and the north shore of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, and in Witless Bay in Newfoundland. Belugas are the smallest, typically measuring no more than 4.5m and weighing about one ton. They are chatty fellows who squeak, groan and peep while traveling in closely knit family pods. Blue whales are the planet’s largest animals, reaching up to 27m in length and weighing as much as 30 elephants. Each one chows down about 40 tons of krill per day. Finbacks aren’t much smaller; they’re easily identified by the asymmetrical coloring of the lower jaw – white or yellowish on the right side and black on the left side. Humpbacks average 15m and typically weigh 30 tons – some serious heft to be launching up and out of the water for their playful breaching. Minkes can grow to 10m and are likely to approach boats, delighting passengers with acrobatics as they, too, hurl themselves out of the water (a bit more easily than the lumbering humpback).