Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sunset Whale Watching

I am serious about whale watching this year. I had five trips last year, two of which were good. I can't let another season pass here without making a heroic effort at a spectacular breach shot. Tonight I nearly got it.

A guy I know allowed me to jump on his sunset trip. We encountered whales immediately after leaving the confines of the islands - a cow and calf. We followed them for a bit and saw the calf breach three times (none of which were captured on my memory card) before moving offshore. We found a single boat waaay out amongst three pairs of surfacing whales. The whales we chose were averaging 11 minute dives and boring surface intervals. Our decision to move was solidified after watching two whales breach six times out on the horizon. Both boats sped towards them with the hope of capturing a sunset-backed breach in the last 5 minutes of orange light. In the six minutes it took us to close the distance, the whales breached eight more times! It was exhilirating while we willed the boat to move faster.

But just as we arrived they dove (naturally). They resurfaced quickly, though, because they were tired from all the breaching. When they came up, they did so only six meters from our boat and they stayed within that range for about seven minutes. It was SO neat. They kept blowing only meters away and we could see them floating underneath. They popped straight up (spy hop) to look at us and slapped water around with their pectoral fins. The woman on our boat got tons of underwater video just by dunking her waterproof Olympus camera under the surface. I got these shots, among many others:

The plan is to go out again tomorrow after that breach shot, but I'm going to have to move a class to make it happen. がんばってます! (i'm wishing myself luck)

1 comment:

Sweet Julie said...

Aww, Dave! I LOVE the whale shots! Send my Megaptera friends all my love! They are my most favorite anything in the whole entire world!