Sunday, August 14, 2016

Breaching Humpback in the Wind, Alaska

Breaching Whale in the Wind.  

  We had no trouble finding whales this week but finding active whales was another story. We found swimming orca right off the bat. I got pretty excited when they swam by a pack of scared looking stellar sea lions but they just swam right on by. Then we had breathing humpback whales in Frederick Sound for as far as the eye could see but none that wanted to jazz it up for the cameras. We decided to jet off to the middle of Frederick Sound to a couple of islands called the Brothers where sea lions have a pretty consistent haulout area on the rocks. Just before getting to the island the whale show began in earnest.

  We came across another vessel following an active humpback whale. When I heard they had been following him for awhile I had do big confidence that we would get to see much more than the tail end of the show. However as we slid in behind the whale he proceeded to chin slap, breach, and peduncle throw while constantly moving forward for the next 30 minutes! When we left him to go check out the sea lions he was still splashing all over the place. 

  I took a few pictures and checked them to see if there was anything aggravating the whale. There was a whale in the vicinity a few months ago that repetitively breached and when I checked the pictures it had a three strand line coming out of its mouth somehow. However with this one I could find anything wrong other than a few fresh looking wounds on the underside of its pectoral fin. I havn’t gotten to the bottom of what the wounds may be but I will keep looking into the mystery wounds until I find out. 

  The whale season is definitely in full swing up here in Alaska and I hope the numbers we are seeing mean good things for this next Hawaii humpback season.

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