Friday, June 4, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
We had two excellent whale watches today. The day started mostly sunny, but it ended in showers, but we were on our way back to Plymouth on the second trip before the rain started, which we were grateful for.
Therefore, we saw on just this one trip evidence of four generations of one humpback whale family: Compass would be the great-grandmother to Perseid's calf, Palette (whom we didn't actually see on this trip) would be its grandmother, and Perseid would (of course) be its mother. Furthermore, the calf we saw swimming alongside Compass on this trip would be a brother or sister to Palette, an aunt or uncle to Perseid, and a great-aunt or great-uncle to Perseid's calf. So all of the whales we saw on this trip are closely related genetically. Now what are the odds of this happening all in one whale watch?
On the PM trip we did see more whales than on the AM trip - several humpbacks (including Compass and her pup again) and one minke whale. However, the high point, I am sure, in the memories of all aboard, had to have been the close approach by just one whale, a young adult male humpback named Tracer. When we first slowed and then stopped a short distance away from Tracer, he proceeded to come over to us, swim around us, swim under us, and otherwise act as if he were just a curious "people watcher", much to the delight of everyone aboard the Tails of the Sea. There was no part of the vessel - bow to stern, starboard to port - that was not visited by Tracer. Even though we had stopped in the water, we were actually drifting very slightly in the wind, and it was amazing to realize that Tracer actually had to swim very slowly just in order to stay with us.
On the AM trip there were a few whales logging at the surface, so we visited for short periods with them, alternating with attempts to stay with other whales who were making long dives. On the PM trip, most of the whales behaved similarly, except that a few did do an occasional tail breach or a bit of flippering.