We were greeted by a beautiful ocean on Wednesday; perfect temperatures and favorable sea conditions. Our trip started with a couple pods of harbor porpoises. We then came across a single humpback whale with an all-black fluke. Humpback fluke patterns range from all white (T1) to all black (T5). We had to wait until getting back to shore to identify this whale, and it was Repeat! Repeat was very busy feeding, taking short breaths at the surface before quickly disappearing from view again.
|Repeat, a new whale for us this season|
After leaving Repeat, we were fortunate enough to find a group of four humpbacks. We spent a good amount of time with these whales, who spent most of their time napping. None of these whales were fluking for us, but thankfully they all have unique dorsal fins, which allowed us to identify them. The group members were Nile, Valley, Spoon, and Clamp. Spoon and Nile even treated us to some flipper slapping between snoozes. It’s always such a treat to see their massive flippers break the surface.
|From left to right: Clamp, Spoon, Valley, and Nile|
It didn’t seem as if these four wanted to stop napping, so we eventually left them and found a sixth humpback whale, also with an all-black fluke. We are still working on an ID for this whale as well.
On our way home we got a quick peek at a blue shark and common murre. What a perfect fall day on the water!
|A common murre on Wednesday’s calm water|
|Quick looks at a blue shark. These fish are usually very shy around boats, so this was a nice treat!|
The chilly breeze did not stop us from finding whales on Friday! We found a total of four female humpback whales, starting off with Spoon and Valley. They were both napping between dives, which allowed us to get some really great looks. Spoon even treated the passengers to a single flipper slap. It’s always so amazing to see their massive flippers come above the surface!
|Spoon and Valley napping at the surface|
We then found Clamp, who was foraging alone. At one point she dove directly below our bow! After leaving her we came across Nile, who was doing some slow traveling. At this point, the wind started to pick up and we decided to head back to the harbor while conditions were still favorable. Not a bad day for our last weekday whale watch of 2021!
|Clamp just before diving below the bow. The bumps on her head are called tubercles, and each one has a whisker-like hair in the center|
|Nile drifting away from the boat between dives|