Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What did I say yesterday about no whales? This morning I rose a bit earlier than usual and thought I'd go up on my bodege roof for a look around. Sun had just come up and the skies were very dark with pretty angry looking clouds everywhere. Wind was light but steady from the North again and it looked like another blow was in store. And then I saw a Humpback! It was about 1/2 mile out and moving leisurely North. I considered waking Vicente but the weather did not look promising and it was kinda early....and it was just one whale. No.....it was 3 whales! I hopped (sort of) off the roof, grabbed my camera and took off for Vicente's. He was awake, looked at me and knew...."ballenas", he asked? Well we were gone. Had to get the key to the panga motor from Antonio first. He lives in the next village south, Los Algodones. We get the key and head to the beach. Problem is Antonio is already out with Adilene I and the battery on Adilene II is dead. Vicente knows where Antonio might be, jumps in his truck and heads south. 5 minutes later I see Antonio coming full speed to the beach with Adilene I. He jumps out, Vicenete pulls up in his truck and we jump into the boat. Wind is coming up but I know pretty well where to look for the whales. Trouble is it has now been some time, at least a half hour...they could be anywhere.

We go North by East in way more chop than I like for spotting and see nothing for about 1/2 hr, the wind continues to blow harder. Boat is rocking and rolling but I have to tell you I'm loving it! Then I see the dorsal of one whale about 1/2 mile further out. Vicente didn't see it but he trusts my knowledge and eyesight. No good, where the hell did it go? We wait 15 minutes in case it had gone deep but still nothing. I suggest we go further North. Another 15 minutes and we both see it. In fact all three are there. Much excitement for both of us, first whales of the season you know....and three at once. At this time of year there is always a possibility of a calf in the group. I get good flank shots but no flukes so it's cool but I sure would like to get a good fluke shot. There is a calf and that's probably why the adults are not diving deep (flukes up). As we continue to track these three I see two breaches back maybe 2 miles South. I don't think I'll get any fluke shots from the ones we are with so we head for the other two. No, not two.......at least five maybe as many as eight (difficult to tell when they are being very active...and they were). Of course the wind continues to build and there is so much action I don't know where the best shot might be. When they are all around you, and they were all within a mile at most of each other, it is very difficult to choose! Well we stayed out as long as we could and I hope that maybe I got three, at best four, good fluke shots. That is also the way of field work. You don't always get what seems so readily available at the moment. We eventually had to come in because the sea was getting a bit rough for landing on the beach. Regardless I feel great!!

I will now put the pics on my computer and see exactly what I got. I’ll let you know. I was right. Out of the possibly 10 whales I encountered today I got 3 good IDs and one mediocre. Good enough for me.

Really blowing outside now. I consider the whole experience today blessed.

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