As usual with a weekend’s worth of Whale Watch Cruises, there’s a lot to report, so here are just a few highlights. On Friday’s 10:00 Cruise, we found Spinner Dolphins, and lots of them, just outside of the harbor. After watching them play for awhile, we headed for a trio of spouts to our north. We caught up with these whales, but they were moving fast. We paralleled them as long as we could and saw multiple spouts and one breach. On our way back to the harbor we found a couple of lone whales and got to see another breach from one of them.
On Saturday’s Whales and Cocktails at Sunset Cruise, we came across a Cow/Calf/Escort pod who were travelling pretty quickly. We never really saw them sound, but they would sort of disappear on us and then reappear on the other side of the boat. We watched them for quite awhile before we saw another pod of two adult Humpbacks surface behind us. These whales were travelling in the same direction, and at about the same speed as our first pod. We had to turn back to the harbor though, before finding out whether they ever caught up with the other pod.
On Sunday’s 10:00 Whale Watch, we saw a couple of spouts just as we were exiting the harbor. On our way out to see those whales, another whale surfaced about 150 yards off our stern. We slowed down to see what would happen, and this whale caught up to us. We paralleled him for quite awhile, watching him come to the surface, spout just once, and then lift his flukes to dive. He’d stay underwater for 4 minutes, only to repeat this process as he traveled north. After watching him for awhile, we saw a couple of other spouts and headed over to watch those Humpbacks spout again and dive.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Though we don’t get to witness it here (at least not very often), Humpbacks have devised a very creative way to feed called “Bubble Net” feeding. A cooperative pod will dive under schools of krill, herring or other small fish. One whale will begin swimming in circles, and blowing bubbles out of his (or her) blowholes. Bubbles, as they rise, expand, which creates a “net” entrapping the prey. Once the prey are balled together inside the circle of bubbles, the whales will take turns lunging through the middle of the circle to gulp their lunch. The whole process is accompanied by lots of vocalizations, culminating in a loud “shriek” right as the bubble net reaches the surface and right before the whales surface…we’re pretty sure the loud noises help to scare the fish upward and further compact the “bait ball”.