Saturday, February 7, 2009

It has been almost a week since my last time out. Weather has been good but I’m trying to conserve research funds for the peak of the season. Hard to do when Vicente and his friends are spotting whales every day.

Started the morning on top of my bodega as usual and within a few minutes I spotted two HB’s out about 2 miles east and a mile and a half south of El Cardonal. Even though I wasn’t to meet Vicente at the beach until 8:00 (it was 7:20) I went over to his house and once again he could tell I was on the scent. With no time wasted we were launched and on the track. I am not sure but I think I have two good ID’s, maybe one is just a good “comparison” (that’s when the pic is not of the quality to justify putting it in the global catalogue as an ID but it goes into the catalogue for possible comparison later). I won’t know for sure until I have them downloaded from my camera into iPhoto and can play with them.

Good start…no? Just gets better! We decide to go further out and see if there might be some Blues going by on their way to Loreto. We get out about 12 miles and then one of Vicente’s friends radios us and says he has two Humpbacks where he is fishing. We turn around and head back to La Linea where they are supposed to be; very close to the beach. We find them and then the fun starts. Not two but four…. and are they doing a number (I don’t report this way in my scientific submissions). Breaching, tail lobs…. and way close to the boat. It is the first time I see Vicente a bit concerned because they all come in real close (6’ maybe) and very active. I keep saying to him…”it’s OK, it’s OK” because as far as I am concerned this is a very special greeting from the whale people. I struggled mightily with the alternative of getting ID’s or going in with them. Science and my sanctuary goal dominated so I didn’t go in. I was just talking about such a situation with my friends next door last night.

I took over 150 shots altogether and I am just downloading them now. A cruiser came by right at the wrong time with about 10 gringos on board and they messed up my work for about ½ hour, even after I explained that I was from the Univ. of La Paz Mammal Research Center (I’m not but I am a Collaborador) and if they might not back off. I told them I was attempting to get IDs. Might as well talk to rocks!! I won’t repeat what I was saying under my breath but in order not to alienate anyone from remembering a “whale Experience” with total joy (however mindless) I only gave off extremely negative body language.

After the other boat left Vicente and I continued to follow the whales to make sure we got as good a fluke shot as possible on all of them. We’ll see about that but as I said the other day… can I not be satisfied, and as always, humbled, by such a day.

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