We ran our Wake up with the Whales Cruise on Alala out of Kawaihae on Monday. Captain Kino took us way up north, and it was worth it when we finally saw a spout ahead of us. We watched as the whale sounded, and then cruised over to where we last saw him, and waited till he surfaced again. We got to see several cycles of surfacing, spouting and diving. A few times, we got some good views of this whale’s flukes…so if we’ll be able to recognize him if he shows up in the area over the next couple of days.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: One of the best ways whale watchers have to identify individual Humpbacks is by the unique markings on the ventral (underside) of their flukes (tails). Currently, the National Marine Mammal Laboratory based in Seattle maintains a data base containing more than 30,000 photos of the North Pacific Humpbacks flukes dating back to 1966. Other researchers, including those involved in the 3 season SPLASH (Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpbacks) project have also used these patterns to identify who’s who in the whale world and estimate population levels. In addition, active Fluke ID programs exist for our Humpbacks showing up off of South East Alaska, and in the other oceans around the world.