Whales 19 July, 2009   3 comments

It was a picture perfect day on the water today and the blows from the Humpbacks could be seen easily. At one stage there was so many blows and so close to the boat, that it was hard to choose which pod to get closer too.

We spent some time with a lone whale which I believe was a female from looking at her tail, which she would extend above the surface of the water. A female has what is called a Hemispheric Lobe which appears below the genital slit and I do believe I can see this.

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This whale was acting very odd and at first glance we thought she may have had a calf but there was no sign of the calf on closer observation. At times she was travelling very fast, as though she was getting away from the boat, then she would stop suddenly and turn, lying dead still on the surface. Occasionally she would lift her tail above the surface of the water. This is how a cow would normally feed her calf. But with this whale, she would only stay in this position a few seconds, not long enough to feed a calf. She would also roll on her back, baring to us what appeared to be a very large belly.

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After some time observing this whale, we left her unsure of what we had witnessed. There was definitely no calf, maybe she was about to give birth, maybe she was sick. It is something we will most probably never know, unless I am able to photograph her fluke to identify her, on her return trip to Antarctica.

On we went a little further out to sea and again there was blows everywhere. We were heading in the direction of another whale boat, when we spotted a blow and a fluke not far from the boat. Looking into the sun made it a little difficult to see, but what unfolded next was something spectacular.

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Two mature whales, both with black bellies which is not a common site in the Southern Hemisphere, began to breach over and over again. Sometimes it was simultaneous and other times it was one then the other. At first we were looking into the sun, so it was nearly impossible to capture a decent photo. Skipper Jason manoeuvred the boat into a better position and the whales kept performing. It was one of the most spectacular sightings I have had.

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When we left this pod of 2, there was another pod approaching and they were still breaching, diving and breaching.

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Something I did discover when I got home and uploaded my photos, was that one of the whales had fishing line hanging from his fluke. Whether this was the reason for the breaching it is again something we will never know but I am happy to say that my photos showed that after continuous breaching and tail slapping, the whale freed itself from the fishing line.

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Posted July 20, 2009 by goldcoastwhales in Uncategorized

3 responses to “Whales 19 July, 2009

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  1. Wonderful update! I\’m so glad he was able to free himself from the fishing line.

  2. Holy cow!!! I don\’t know what to say…. these two entries are spectacular. The cow and calf breaching together is unbelievable! I don\’t know how you get these, having to be ready when they leave the water. Just amazing…

  3. And the black bellied whales are quite dramatic.

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