Thursday, January 28, 2010

This morning I felt the urge once again to kayak out to The Whale Zone. By 8:00 am I was stationed at my usual place and hoping for a close encounter. By 10:00 am I was getting a bit cold and decided to come in. On my way in I had the good fortune of crossing paths with a herd of about 30 Pacific Common Dolphin and was able to enjoy their peaceful swim past my kayak on to their way north.

By the time I got in I discovered I had been out for 3 hours and felt every bit of it. This kind of exercise is of course much more demanding in the winter. Thought it is hardly cold here, the morning breeze from the north can be chilling.

After cleaning my gear I decided to get on the computer and record some notes on previous whale sightings from a few days ago. As I began to write I heard the distinct “whamp” of a whale breaching or lobbing (synchronicity: the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection). It was quite loud so initially I thought it couldn’t be but believe me once you have heard that sound it will never be mistaken for something else. I went outside, grabbed my binoculars and went on to my bodega roof. At first I looked out to sea expecting to see one at a distance, but then right in front of my beach and no more than a ¼ mile out at most I saw a blow (and heard it too). Then I heard the “whamp” and saw a large splash right behind it; two Humpbacks! They were either in combat or it was a male escort showing off for a female. I watched for a while as they continued swimming south with one (or both depending on the dynamic) tail lobbing about every 2 minutes for 4-6 lobs. I was torn between watching and photographing. I decided to run for my camera and see if I could get any shots from shore. I got to the bluff within minutes and was able to get these shots. They are not particularly good but the whales were quite a distance away by then and the camera was trying to figure out just what the hell I was trying to capture out there in the vast blue Sea.

Sighting a blow. you can see the ripple behind this whale where the other is ready to "pound" (?).

Big reentry splash. Could never be mistaken for a Manta, Marlin or Mobula.

I really lucked out on this shot. He is not diving forward, he is lifting 30+ tons of body into the air tail first and "whamping" the surface.

Almost an ID!

Ironic that I was just in that exact place not ½ hr before and if I had waited just a little bit I would have had an encounter for sure. Ah well!

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