Friday, July 28, 2017

Back on a whale watch boat...

As a passenger, not the captain.  Joan asked, "So, how do you like having someone else do the driving, and you can just sit back and relax?"

Frankly, being at the helm is a good feeling.  ;-)

So, how was the trip?  Thanks for asking... it was outstanding!  This is a whole different kind of whale watching compared to what we did in the Pacific Northwest.  In the San Juans, the goal is to get people to the Orcas... and the Orcas are always moving... never in the same place twice.  There is no route and part of the challenge of that job is predicting the whales' movement and working with schedules, tides, current, weather, and water conditions to get the guests to the whales.  AND, give them an interesting tour that includes as much other wildlife as possible.  It is a challenge.

With this whale watching situation, the boat goes to where they know the whales will be.  This time of year, humpbacks are feeding on the Stellwagen Bank.  Oh, that this a big area, and they may be "here or there," but it is pretty predictable.  The unknown is what the behavior of the whales will be... and weather - weather is always a challenge on the water.

Today, Mother Nature blessed us with perfect weather and calm conditions.  And, the whales were VERY cooperative!  Great surface active behavior... and very little "down time" (where they spend what seems like endless minutes under water).  We were treated to lunge feeding, bubble feeding, and something I hadn't heard of before: kick feeding (whale behavior only seen here).  Spy hops.  Multiple whales.  And, repeated close encounters of the humpback kind!

To give you a better idea, between the two of us, we shot about 500 images with the two hours we spent with the whales (a 4 hour trip - one hour each out and back)... and of those 500 images, I was only able to cut about 20... the rest were keepers!  So, you may be thinking: OMG, he's going to post 500 whale photos here!  No, I spent several hours going through the images this evening, and will share a few of my favorites...

A fine time out on the water today!

If you want to see a couple hundred more images, just let me know.  ;-)


Hudson River Boater said...

What do you think about this?? I grew up in the area..

Captain Jim and the Blonde said...

Hi HRB. Like most animals, the humpbacks go where the food is. There are more humpback sightings in the Salish Sea (PNW) the last few years. They are still a threatened species, but their numbers (unlike the Southern Resident Killer Whales) are growing. The humpbacks are impressive, especially so due to their size. It was a treat to get to see some again.