Saturday, November 7, 2009
This is a photo from 2006 of the first whale of the season that year. He was a delight to watch and eventually spent about ½ hour with us. I hadn’t begun to swim with these critters yet so I missed what could have been a wonderful connection. I put this photo in because it relates to the meeting with Jorge yesterday. The Humpbacks are returning (in abundance)! So this is just an example of one happy Humpback.
And this is one happy researcher!
Had a meeting with Dr. Jorge Urban and Ursula (Ursula is Jorge’s chief Ph.D. candidate and field worker) yesterday. Delightful! Started out as always a bit strained because they just don’t know what to think of me but after lunch we met in his office and things began to be more causal and intimate. The upshot is this: though my work here in El Cardonal has not been revelatory, it has been important. Important enough to perhaps extend the border of what has been planned as a “protected” area for Humpbacks in The East Cape area into my region rather than ending at Cabo Pulmo, 30 miles south of us!! I am very pleased, thankful and honored to have my contribution be of value.
I am incredibly privileged to be working with these individuals. The Gods/Goddesses surely have blessed me these past 5 years. I am happily awaiting the return of my “Whale People” for my 6th season and who knows what is in store.
Some SPLASH results. There are perhaps as many as 20,000 HBs in The North Pacific. Because of these numbers they may be taken off the endangered list (bad/good). Our Mexican population is the second largest in The North Pacific, perhaps as many as 6-8,000 of the twenty. They concentrate in three separate places; The Cape region (which includes my People), The Mexican Mainland around Bahia de las Banderas (near Puerta Vallarta) and The Revillagigedos Islands about 600 miles off shore of The Cape.
There is intrigue regarding a 4th breeding ground “somewhere” between Hawaii and Japan. No one knows for sure where it is but speculations are that it might be around the Marianas Islands between Hawaii and Japan. As many as 3,000 whales my breed/calve there….what a great discovery.
In regard to individual whale returns to the three Mexican centers: there is a 40% return of individuals to The Islands (Mexican) off shore, 20% to the mainland (Bahia de Banderas and 8% to The Cape (my people). It is therefore not surprising that after 5 years of work I have only ONE returnee…Odin; my son’s adopted whale, how cool is that!!
Ursula recognized two of my whales from this year right away. 50% show damage but the population goes up at a rate of 7% a year!! Jorge did warn me that swimming with them is always risky. I am hip to that but at this time in my life that is no longer a concern.