Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Whale of a Tale – Feb 10

This was one of the coolest days! (Wait till you see the picture at the end)

Many of the group got up at 5:00 this morning to take a hike on Cuverville Island. I took a look at the inside of my eyelids and decided that was all the scenery I needed for the time being. 7:00 seemed like a so-much-more-civilized time for coffee!

After breakfast, while cruising from Cuverville to Neko Harbor we had more great scenery.

But then someone shouted “Thar she blows! Whales off the port bow”. Now, we saw whales almost every day, so this wasn’t that different. But I wandered up to the bridge, camera in tow. Off the bow we saw one, then two, then a third humpback whale.

Usually we see them, then they disappear. Generally we see the backs, maybe a fin, ocassionaly the flukes (tail).

These, however, seemed to have found a swarm of krill and were feasting to their heart’s delight. They also were doing something we hadn’t seen before, setting up “bubble nets”. This is when the whales go deep and blow bubbles in a circular pattern to trap the krill. The whales stayed around the boat for quite a long time.

Suddenly one decided it was time for a really big gulp, and up he came. With my fingers working fast and furious on the camera, I came up with my favourite shot of the trip. Note that there are actually three whales in this shot: one in front and one in back of the whale that is feeding. Also notice how he expands his throat to take in more water, then forces it out of the side of his mouth through the baleens. !

I can hardly wait to receive the offer from National Geographic. I’m sure it will be in the mail when I get back to Panama.

No comments: