This is my 16th season of whale watching and I have to say that today was one of the best days I’ve ever had. We had to travel much further than usual to get to where the whales were, but it was well worth the ride. Once we arrived, we found ourselves surrounded by dozens of humpback whales. We had adults who were aggressively feeding at the surface and even had a couple of calves in the mix.
The whales that we saw today were feeding on fish known as the American Sandlance or Sand eel. These fish are a favorite amongst this population of whales found in this area. It’s always a treat for us whale watchers to be able to witness these beautiful animals doing what comes natural to them in their own habitat (versus being forced to perform at theme parks where everything is very unnatural). I’m very fortunate that I live in an area which allows for whale watching on a regular basis.
One of the calves, the calf of a whale known as Tornado, was very active during our encounter. This young whale breached a couple of times and then went on to do some lob tailing and pec slapping. At almost a year old now this young whale will soon be heading off to face the world alone without mom’s help and protection. This is a very tough time for these young whales as they try to survive their first year or two alone. It’s also scary for us whale watchers who form such strong attachments to these babies after watching them develop and learn in their first year of life. I hope that this young whale has learned what it needs to know so it do ok on its own. Time will tell.
The good thing about having to travel so far to get to the whales is that our ride home was just as long. This allowed us to take in one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen offshore. All around this day was perfection and it’ll be hard, if not impossible, to beat it.
Being a well seasoned whale watcher who has seen a lot of amazing things when it comes to whale behaviors, it’s not often that I leave the harbor feeling completely blown away. Today had that affect on me. It was truly remarkable and although it took a whale to get on one of these trips it was well worth the wait!
This story was adapted from a blog, read the original post here