Friday, October 6, 2023

October 4 and 6, 2023

Wednesday, after some searching, our mate Matt saw a blow to the east. We headed that way, and then our intern Hannah relocated the blow nearby. Three humpback whales were hanging out together!! The first was easy to ID based on the large scar on her back- Owl!! Sword and Clamp were hanging out with her! These three were taking short dives and slowly moving to the west. Clamp did her signature move- the high fluke tail flick! 

Clamp's high fluke tail flick!

Sword was low-fluking and looked pretty tiny compared to the two large females! For baleen whales, including humpback whales, the males are generally smaller than the females. 

Clamp and Sword

After watching this trio for a bit, we decided to check out another area nearby with no success, so we headed back to the trio. At this point, they had dispersed a bit, with Owl and Clamp still in the immediate area and Sword seen briefly before he took off. The groupings of humpback whales are often ephemeral. We were lucky to see all three side by side for a short time!

Three humpbacks with their rain-blows!

Oh, and at some point during the trip, we saw Sword and Clamp together, but Owl wasn't with them. We sat still and waited, and then out of the depths, Owl surfaced just feet from the boat and dove right next to us!! She even pooped while doing so!! Oh, Owl, we love you so! Thank you for fertilizing the ocean farm of plankton! 

Friday, the fog blew in from the east as we were boarding the boat. Fog is a whale watcher's worst nightmare. If we have no visibility, finding whales is next to impossible (although we have had luck in the past!).  Fortunately, the fog came and went and was patchy for most of the day. A blue shark stayed at the surface just long enough for most of us to see! Then, we got a report of a humpback whale feeding nearby in a clear patch, so we headed that way. Clamp was there doing her funky version of lobtail feeding, and surfacing with her mouth wide open! Amazing looks! We could even see the small mackerel jumping out of the water, trying to escape her jaws!  Poor little mackerel...

After a bit, we left her to feed in peace and continued on to find another humpback whale, Satula, also surface feeding! He was using bubble clouds to concentrate his prey and also surfacing with his mouth open! Satula isn't known for many behaviors besides pooping, so we were surprised to see him surface feeding! Even our regular whales can surprise us! While Satula was chasing around his lunch, a school of bluefin tuna appeared right off our bow! These large fish are fast, and usually all we see of them is the white water splashes they make. 

We had a little time left in the trip to explore one more area before heading home. There, we found Victim, our 3rd humpback of the day.

On our way home, we passed a minke whale and a grey seal! We totally lucked out on this foggy Friday!

Today was our last whale watch of the season. We canceled the weekend trips due to bad weather. Thanks to all who joined us this season! Winter well, and we hope to see you, and the whales, again next year!

Sunday, October 1, 2023

September 30 - October 1, 2023

The last day of September was cloudy, a little brisk, breezy and rocky out on the water. We spent our time watching humpback whale Victim, steadily on the move. While we may have been feeling the motion of the ocean, whales certainly can slip through the water so gracefully. Such beautiful creatures.

Victim, the humpback whale

Sunday, the winds had subsided, but the ocean was still holding a good amount of energy through the swells offshore. Victim was seen again, but she was back alongside Partition, a pair that's been seen regularly together over the past week. 
Pair of humpback whales

We also got a chance to spend time with two other humpback whales: Owl and Chromosome. 

We are into our final week of the 2023 season. Fingers crossed for good weather so we can enjoy these wild animals on all our scheduled trips!