Monday, September 7, 2009
Whale Watching Trip September 4, 2009
9 am and 2 pm Whale Watches - Joanne
We left Plymouth Harbor with near perfect conditions, light winds, clear skies, cool temps--the perfect start to Labor Day Weekend. Just 9 miles from Gurnet Lighthouse, we came across whales. Their close proximity and behavior allowed us to spend nearly 2 hours in their company.
We had pairs and trios, all behaving in such a manner to indicate mid water feeding on euphasiids (or krill). The whales were very slow surfacing, taking a single breath and returning down. When they surfaced, their throats were fully expanded and water could be seen coming out of their mouths. There were no birds in the area and no prey to be seen in the water.
We watched each group displaying the same behavior, even calves (although their throats were not expanded upon surfacing). Whales were feeding right off our bow and next to us giving us amazing looks at their entire bodies through the water. We dropped a plankton net and did a tow got one krill in our tow, another sign that was exactly what they were eating. Whales seen in the morning included: Nile and calf and Gladiator, Tongs and Scylla, Abrasion and calf and Pitcher, and several new whales.
In the afternoon, we traveled to the same spot and had a few of the same whales feeding, in pairs and trios. We got our final 'proof' they were eating krill when one of the whales defecated bright red. Whales aren't able to digest the exoskeleton of the krill, so it is evacuated in their waste. We continued north through the southwest corner and found Nile and calf and Gladiator.