Saturday was a beautiful afternoon for watching whales (and dolphins and ocean sunfish). The morning breeze faded, leaving us with an ocean swell but otherwise calm seas.
Heading offshore, we found a pair of ocean sunfish, also known by their Latin name, Mola mola, which translates into millstone- a large round grey rough object used to grind grains.
Next, we saw a fishing boat heading in from its charter and noticed they stopped abruptly. We called them to ask why they stopped, and we learned the boat found a pod of dolphins! We headed that way and relocated the large pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins! These animals were fantastic, swimming closely alongside our boat, allowing us to check out their cool stripes. We also found another ocean sunfish amid the dolphins!
Heading east, we came upon an area where five humpback whales were hanging out. Owl was by herself today and doing a bit of napping at the surface between dives.
Two pairs of humpbacks were in the distance. The first was Nile and Scylla, a pair that has been together for the better part of two months (maybe more).
Then in the distance, we saw the other pair start to become active by tail breaching and slapping. We normally don’t rush over the active whales when we are watching other whales since we know that the whales will stop their activities by the time we get there, but we were temped.
We idled their way and soon determined we were looking at Ebony, who was doing most of the tail-slapping, and Brine. As we watched the activity, we noticed that Nile began to tail-slap as well! Likely a form of communication, tail-slapping, and tail-breaching are known behaviors for humpback whales, but not for most other species of large whales.
|Tail breach from Ebony|
|The white water from Ebony's tail breach while Nile is tail-slapping in the distance|
|Humpback whales diving in perfect synchrony|
|Humpback whale, Nile|