Sunday, August 31, 2014

Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-... That's all, folks!

I wanted to go out with a bang... but more than that: I didn't want to go out with a whimper.

No whale reports this morning.  By the time I went in to work, there was a report of transients... way north.  As in: it would be, at least, a 5 hour trip; not allowing much time on the transients.  Past experience tells me that is more time than most people care to do.  Joan let me know that there were some on my boat who weren't going to be up for a long, or lumpy, trip.

There was a report of a Minke whale in the vicinity of Hein Bank.  A couple humpbacks too far west, moving further west.  Looks like my last day will be a Minke hunt.

Minke whales need to have better PR - they don't get the respect the Orcas hold.  Maybe it's because they have small dorsal fins on their long bodies?  They don't have BIG dorsal fins on the beefy bodies like the Orcas.  They don't spend much time at the surface.  They are mostly solitary.  They are baleen whales: they eat little sea critters without dramatic "kills" at the surface; they don't play with their food.  There is no Minke named Shamoo and a gazillion stuffed animal look-alikes.

They are the Rodney Dangerfield of the whale world.

Today, they were pretty much the only game in town.  I understand that the guests want to see Orcas.  From my perspective, Minkes are harder to find, and tougher to predict.  And, they are fast.  Think: torpedo.

As it turns out, it was Minke-palooza this afternoon!  We were watching 3 reasonably active Minkes... two that were surfacing together on occasion.  We even saw a couple fine examples of lunge-feeding.  This was one of the better Minke viewings I have seen.  And, did I mention: they are whales?

We had to go to Middle Bank to get this show.  On non-Orca days, the boat crew has to work harder, and (as you might imagine) the guests are generally less enthralled.  So, it wasn't going out with a bang... nor a whimper.  It was a good day on the water.

And our last work day.

OK, there is plenty of work to do before we leave the area (mostly moving out of, and deep cleaning, the boat); repacking everything for the road.

I said my good-byes to most of my first mates and naturalists.  Joan and I went out for a real grown-up, sit-down meal to celebrate the end of our work season.

It's all good.  (Defined by the Urban Dictionary as: nothing is bad)  Let the next chapter begin.

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