Whale Watching 2016: Part 13

23 Jun
boat and competition pod

The passengers of the SeaEscape III watch at a safe distance as two large Humpback males in a competition pod violently thrash each other at the surface. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

23 February 2016 Cruise

Despite the Ocean Voyager’s initial encounter with a very energetic competition pod (see above photo), the most interesting part of this day’s cruise was the antics of one particularly active Humpback whale calf. But first things first…

The participants of the aforementioned competition pod became so violent and spread out at the surface, the SeaEscape III‘s pilot decided to steer clear of them lest their brawling smash into and swamp the tiny boat.

comp pod on the move

Three members of a fast-moving and violent competition pod. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

When they realized the female they were fighting over had left the scene, the males of the competition pod abruptly broke off their struggles with one another and gave chase to the fleeing object of their affections.

comp pod on the move-2

After a short break in the action, the competition pod quickly moved on. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Prior to boarding the Ocean Odyssey, I took the following shots of what I assumed was a solitary mature Humpback whale performing a long series of noisy and very spectacular fluke slaps in the near-shore shallows. It’s unusual for solitary whales to exhibit this behavior so close to shore (note the boulders of the harbor breakwater in the foreground), so I broke out the 300 mm zoom lens and began snapping away.

flukeslap from shore-1 300mm

Fluke-slapping whale taken from shore (without the 300 mm lens). (Click on the image to see a larger version.) 

 

flukeslap from shore-2 300mm

Fluke-slapping whale taken from shore (using the 300 mm lens). (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

After blasting through about 30 shots and just as I was losing interest in this whale’s antics, a small whale’s head broke the surface a short distance to its left. So this was a mother-calf pair, and it appeared that Mom was teaching her offspring the fine art of fluke-slapping.

flukeslap from shore-4 300mm

Mother and calf (far left of photo) pair. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

About a half-hour into the cruise, we came upon another mother-and-calf pair making their way slowly out into the channel between Ma’alaea Bay and Molokini Island. Junior was performing a continuous series of splashy fluke slaps while Mom cruised slowly nearby, staying very close to her newborn the entire time we spent with this pair. Female Humpback whales with newborns in tow are very protective and stick close to their offspring throughout the first year of their lives. This mother-child relationship is the only close bond that the otherwise purposely solitary Humpbacks form during their lives. After it is weened (usually after the return to Hawaiian waters), the female abandons the yearling to fend for itself.

calf flukeslap mom & Molokini

Humpback calf doing fluke slaps as Mom cruises slowly alongside. Molokini Island looms in the hazy background. (Click on image to see a larger version.)

 

calf flukeslap and mom-4

Nice close-up shot of the calf’s tail stock (known as the “peduncle”) as it emerges from the water in preparation for yet another loud slap. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

calf flukeslap and mom-5

Close-up of the calf’s fluke slap; Mom’s dorsal fin is just visible to the right. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

calf flukeslap and mom-3

Oblivious to the presence of the Ocean Odyssey, the calf happily flails away at the surface while its ever-protective mother maneuvers to place herself between the boat and her youngster. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Just when I thought this playful newborn couldn’t get any cuter, it abruptly switched to performing a long series of awkward (but very energetic) partial breaches. During the first weeks of life, most newborn calves lack the strength to jump completely out of the water (a “full” breach). It is believed that the youngsters “practice” this behavior to strengthen their peduncle muscles in preparation for the long journey with Mom back to the Alaskan feeding grounds. To be honest, I believe they do it just because it’s so damned fun!

calf partial breach-2

Calf practicing breaching, but it manages to get only half-way out of the water. (Click on the image to seed a larger version.)

 

calf partial breach-4

Keep practicing, little guy! You’ll get better with time. (Click on image to see a larger version.)

 

mom with calf eye visible

Finally, the calf got bored with breaching and decided to do a little “spy hopping”, a reconnoitering behavior wherein the whale slowly rises to the surface in a near-vertical position so that its eyes barely break the surface; it then holds that position for several seconds, protruding one eye (the concentric fleshy wrinkles surrounding the eye are just visible above the mother’s massive back) as if “squinting” to get a better view of its surroundings. A whale’s visual acuity is quite good both at and below the surface. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Whalewatching 2016: Part 12

25 Apr
Calf flukes-up dive.

Nice close-up shot of a Humpback calf’s flukes-up dive. Judging by the amount of time this calf stayed submerged after this dive, it’s probably several weeks old and ready to follow its mother to the Alaskan feeding grounds. 16 February 2016 (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

16 and 19 February 2016 Cruises

16 February Cruise

This day’s conditions were more typical of our February weather than those of the last few weeks: strong gusting southwesterly winds and heavy seas with whitecaps. This makes it difficult to spot whales; I had to be almost be on top of a whale in order to see it, let alone photograph it!

The following shots of a weeks-old calf were the most interesting and easiest to photograph.

This calf performed several energetic breaches

This calf performed several energetic breaches for about 15 minutes as its mother rested placidly at the surface nearby (light-blue patch of disturbed water at far left). (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Young Humpback calves like this one usually aren't able to do full breaches (i.e., leap completely out of the water) because the peduncle muscles of the tail stock are not yet strong enough.

Young Humpback calves like this one usually aren’t able to do full breaches (i.e., leap completely out of the water) because the peduncle muscles of the tail stock are not yet strong enough. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

The calf performs a very noisy reverse breach, landing on its back.

The calf performs a very noisy reverse breach, landing on its back. The windblown spray is a small mouthful of water being forcefully ejected from its mouth as it does a “jaw clap”, an aggressive behavior more often displayed by adult whales in competition pods. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

————————————————

19 February Cruise

Excellent weather: high winds the night before had cleaned out the vog haze, so visibility was great; moderate trade winds cooled what would have been a cloudless warm day; the surface, while not glass-smooth, was calm enough to spot blows and breaches miles distant.

A large male Humpback headed directly for the boat.

A large male Humpback headed directly for the boat does an impressive (and VERY intimidating) round-out dive at the last second. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Sailboat and whale.

The crew of this sailboat took advantage of the excellent surface conditions and their ideal position to observe at close range a mother and calf lazing at the surface. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

There were a LOT of surface-active competition pods inside the bay; most pods had four or more participants. Almost immediately the captain of the Ocean Odyssey found one just outside the harbor breakwater.

comp pod action

The male participants in this competition pod really churned up the waters as they heaved about and shoved one another. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Head lunge looking head-on

A head lunge viewed head-on! the barnacles encrusting the chin plate of this large male Humpback are clearly visible as it lifts its massive head above the surface and slams it down hard with a loud splash. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

The male participants of this competition pod were displaying a lot of very aggressive behavior: head butting and head lunges, inflated head lunges, jaw-clapping and tail cocking.

inflated head lunge & jaw clap in comp pod

A male Humpback performs an aggressive inflated head lunge and caps it off with some jaw-clapping (note the parted lips of the whale on the right). (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

A member of the competition pods swims close enough to the boat its flukes brushed the hull.

A member of the competition pods swims close enough to the boat its flukes brushed the hull. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

flukes-up closeup

Mobbing the boat! (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

The members of one of the competition pods came so close (called “mobbing the boat”) that the exhalations of the competitors straining to keep up with the female and her primary escort were loud enough one could almost imagine they were on the boat itself.

One whale popped up next to the boat just below where I was standing on the bridge; it happened so fast and at such close range (less than 2 meters) that I had no time to dial back the focus on my lens, but did manage after a second or so to refocus and catch the entirety of whale’s body in my viewfinder.

surprise! mugging the boat

This member of the competition pod very suddenly popped up on the starboard side of the boat after swimming between the twin hulls of the Ocean Odyssey. It was close enough I could hear its labored exhalation as it swam by, almost close enough to reach out and touch! (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Mobbing the boat.

I was just able to re-focus my lens to catch the full length of this whale as it emerged after swimming under the boat. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Pectoral fins' wingspan indicated with arrows

As this whale swims away from the boat, its two pectoral fins (the tips indicated by yellow arrows) are stretched out fully as it pulls a forward stroke. Each fin (the turquoise-blue patches visible just below the surface) is about 15 feet long, so its total “wing span” (about forty feet for this individual) is almost as wide as the whale is long (more than 45 feet).

 

older calf breaching

A young adult whale (or perhaps an older calf) performs a half-breach,;the L-shaped groove of it closed lips is clearly visible. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

A Humpback calf moves close to the boat

A Humpback calf moves close to the boat, perhaps a bit curious about the engine noise. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Although most of the body of a Humpback whale belonging to the north Pacific population is black, the ventral aspect (i.e., the bottom surface) of its flukes and pectoral fins display large patches of bright-white coloration. A treat for whale photographers is to capture these patches of color when displayed by the whale near the surface, where they appear as bright turquoise-blue flashes.

The turquoise "wow factor".

The turquoise “wow factor”. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

A mature adult Humpback displays a bit of "turquoise fin flash" as it surfaces and blows.

A mature adult Humpback displays a bit of “turquoise fin flash” as it surfaces and blows. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Whalewatching 2016: Part 11

13 Apr
Breaching male

A male Humpback whale accompanying a receptive female (her pectoral fin is visible just in front of him) breaches near his companion. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

12 February Cruise

If you follow this blog, you might have noticed that I often include a couple of photographs of my fellow whale watchers (see the 3 February cruise’s blog post). Sometimes the antics of humans interacting with whales can be just as interesting as those of the whales.

canoe and whale off beach

A lone canoeist observes at close range a Humpback logging quietly at the surface. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Whoa!!! Don't show this one to the kids!

A raft-full of Mad Snappers (Touristicus flagrante) pursuing their favorite prey. Note the presence of the extremely rare Yellow-Shirted Butt Scratcher (Itchius persisticus) seductively perched on the port-side pontoon. (To satisfy your own prurient interest, click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Okay, back to the whales…

A solitary whale intercepts my boat then performs a roundout at close range.

A solitary whale intercepts my boat then performs a roundout at close range. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

A solitary whale does a head lunge as it surfaces just offshore from Kalepolopo Beach

A solitary whale does a head lunge as it surfaces just offshore from Kalepolopo Beach (my neighborhood). (Click on the image to see a larger version.) At first I wasn’t sure why this whale was behaving aggressively as there seemed to be no other whales nearby…

 

suddenly several other whales surfaced around him

…but suddenly several other whales surfaced around him, followed by a volley of bubble-blowing, behavior intended to disorient and intimidate other members of a competition pod. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

A closeup shot of the recipient of bubble-blowing

A closeup shot of the recipient of bubble-blowing by another member (submerged) of the competition pod. In their Alaskan feeding grounds, Humpback whales employ a similar tactic (known as a “bubble-screen”) to confuse and corral their prey. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

This whale is being subjected to bubble-screen attacks from both sides.

This whale is being subjected to bubble-screen attacks from both sides. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

During the intense activity of a surface-active competition pod, the whales' exertions cause them to exhale more often and more vigorously.

During the intense activity of a surface-active competition pod, the whales’ exertions cause them to exhale more often and more vigorously. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Competition pod action off Maalaea

We followed this competition pod for about a half hour as it shifted from the mouth of Ma’alaea Bay back into the shallower waters near the shoreline. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

One of the members of the competition suddenly performs a violent flukes slash, a behavior that is indicative of extreme annoyance or aggression.

One of the members of the competition suddenly performs a violent flukes slash, a behavior that is indicative of extreme agitation or aggression. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

One of the larger whales of the competition pod (possibly the female) veers toward my boat

One of the larger whales of the competition pod (possibly the female) veers toward my boat; her large pectoral fins (the elongated blue-white patches visible to either side of the body) spread out full to either side of her massive body. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

We finally left the competition pod to begin the long run back to Ma’alaea Harbor, during which we passed several mother-and-calf pairs engaged in more placid activity.

A calf (probably several weeks old, judging by its size) performed a graceful flukes-up dive as the boat passed.

A calf (probably several weeks old, judging by its size) performed a graceful flukes-up dive as the boat passed. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

One of a pair of whales exhales a plume of steam (or "blow") as it glides along the surface at a leisurely pace.

One of a pair of whales exhales a plume of steam (or “blow”) as it glides along the surface at a leisurely pace. A normal blow may reach 15 to 20 feet into the air, easily visible several miles away. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Whalewatching 2016: Part 10

27 Mar
nice flukes slap

A young adult Humpback whale really “cracks the whip” while performing a series of very loud and energetic fluke slaps. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

3 February Cruise

The whale behaviors seen during this cruise were more varied and a lot more energetic than what I shot in January.

The following series of photos of a single breach were shot at the maximum range (more than a half mile away) of my 300mm lens, but the good air quality (i.e., no vog) and calm seas allowed me to pull a good focus on the subject.

 

breach and blow

The breach began with a rocketing vertical lunge breaking the surface, the whale exhaling sharply through its blowholes. Keep in mind that from the time it broke the surface to the point when it plunged back into the sea took less than four seconds. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

breach with esposed pec fins

At this point in its breach both of the whale’s pectoral fins are out of the water.(Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

breach

The whale begins a vertical roll to its right, still exhaling and seawater streaming from it’s chin plate and pectoral fins. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

breach

The whale completes a nearly 180-degree corkscrewing spin, landing on its back. The water spurting from its mouth is probably the remainder off a mouthful it took into its buccal cavity to inflate its pleated lower jaw. Male Humpbacks often perform this “inflated head lunge” to impress other whales in the vicinity… or maybe just for fun. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

pec slap

Nice closeup shot of a “pec slap”; the whale (probably a female) had rolled onto its side, its belly facing the camera. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

twenty-foot blow

A solitary whale’s prodigious “blow” extends more than 15 feet above the surface.(Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

The next two shots are of a male in a small competition pod performing a violent head lunge, intended to intimidate the other males in the pod. In both images, the rows of tubercles (the numerous bumps on its upper jaw, or “rostrum”) are plainly visible. Each tubercle has a single hair follicle; blood vessels and nerve endings within the dermis (layer of skin cells that underlie the epidermis) enter the base of each follicle. The hair follicles may serve a sensory function like that of a cat’s whiskers. 

 

head lunge

Head lunge seen from the left of the whale’s head. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

head lunge

Head lunge shot from behind as the whale sped off in pursuit of the rest of the competition pod. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

kayakers & logging whales

A pair of kayakers happened upon a pair of whales logging at the surface; the exhaust stars of the Kealia Pond power station loom above the keawe trees growing along the shore. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

kayak and whale

As they pass the resting whales, the kayakers are careful to maintain a distance of at least 100 yards, the stand-off distance prescribed by law within the wildlife refuge that includes all of Ma’alaea Bay. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

flukeslap ventral view

As one whale in a small competition pod begins a flukes-up dive, another pod member violently slams its flukes on the surface, indicating agitation or aggression. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

I’ll end this blog post with a nice shot of a pec wave…

pec wave

Goodbye until the next post. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Whalewatching 2016: Part 9

19 Mar
flukes-up closeup

Nice closeup shot of a flukes-up dive. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

26 January Cruise

The perfectly calm seas inside and outside Ma’alaea Bay, and the glass-smooth surface are definitely NOT typical of January’s weather conditions!

The distinctive recurved or “hooked” dorsal fin of his female (its calf was nearby but outside the frame of this shot) stands out in this high-contrast shot.

The distinctive recurved or “hooked” dorsal fin of his female (its calf was nearby but outside the frame of this shot) stands out in this high-contrast shot. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

During this cruise I saw more mother-and-calf pairs in the short two hours than in all of the cruises of the past six weeks. There’s been a lot of talk in the local whale-watching community that the strong El Niño conditions prevailing in the ocean surrounding the Islands has delayed the migration of pregnant females to Hawaii by about a month. This may account for the sudden appearance of so many newborns so late in the migratory season.

A mother and calf pair swim away from my boat after passing by at close range.

A mother and calf pair swim away from my boat after passing by at close range. (Click on the image to see a larger view.)

 

This curious Humpback calf came in very close to the Ocean Voyager, so I was able to get this shot showing the entire length of its body, its flukes and pectoral fins clearly visible just below the glass-smooth surface.

This curious Humpback calf came in very close to the Ocean Voyager, so I was able to get this shot showing the entire length of its body, its flukes and pectoral fins clearly visible just below the glass-smooth surface. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Following its mother (just out of the frame), the Humpback calf passes close to starboard of the Ocean Voyager, creating small ripples in the glass-smooth surface. Its left pectoral fin is visible just below the surface.

Following its mother (just out of the frame), the Humpback calf passes close to starboard of the Ocean Voyager, creating small ripples in the glass-smooth surface. Its left pectoral fin is visible just below the surface. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

The female with the hooked dorsal fin quietly logs at the surface as Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ocean Intrigue slowly moves into position to view her and her newborn calf (behind her and to her right).

The female with the hooked dorsal fin quietly logs at the surface as Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ocean Intrigue slowly moves into position to view her and her newborn calf (behind her and to her right). (Click on the image to view a larger version.)

 

The “hooked-dorsal” female Humpback exhales gently as her calf begins a shallow flukes-up dive.

The “hooked-dorsal” female Humpback exhales gently as her calf begins a shallow flukes-up dive. (Click on the image to view a larger version.)

 

This last photo has an interesting/funny story. The Ocean Voyager’s captain was obliged to put the engines in neutral as the hooked-dorsal female and her calf swam completely around the boat, while the passengers on the lower deck excitedly followed them, rushing from port to starboard side, madly trying to get a good shot of the pair. I wasn’t so anxious to get the shot, but I DID snap this one with the woman holding up her tablet computer, because it’s so much fun seeing what tourists bring on board to take whale photos. It got even more hilarious when Tablet Lady attempted a “panning shot” of the pair and smacked into the guy in the baseball cap on her right, ruining both their shots.

Mother, calf and humans.

Tablet Lady to the whales: “Hey, look over here and smile!” (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Now I know why they call them “Cattle Boats”.

Whalewatching 2016: Part 8

17 Mar
Breach and blow 300mm

A young Humpback calf performs a clumsy breach as its mother lies at the surface, marking her spot with a lazy plume of exhaled steam. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

30 January Cruise

Today the haze from the vog (volcanic smog) was so strong it absorbed and scattered sunlight and sucked all the color out of my images, casting a faintly bluish gray pall on the water. Oddly enough, although the vog is a color killer, it allows me to tweak the exposure of my shots through the lens more than usual, producing some nice sharp, high-contrast shots.

Fortunately, the wind was very light and the sea was glass-smooth, so it was very easy to spot whales from a long way off. The two following shots (and the image above) were taken at the extreme end of the range of my 300mm telephoto lens, more than a half-mile away.

Peduncle throw - 1

A young adult Humpback performs an energetic peduncle throw just outside the Ma’alaea Harbor breakwater. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Peduncle throw-2

This young Humpback concludes a peduncle throw by kicking up a huge splash. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

There was a lot of surface activity close to shore. About a third of these shots were taken either while the Ocean Voyager was still tied up at its birth or just a short distance outside the harbor’s breakwater.

 

Pec wave with Alii Nui in the background

A whale performs a “pec wave” seemingly for the benefit of the appreciative passengers onboard the Alii Nui whale-watching boat. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Flukes waves off McGregor Point.

A young adult Humpback performs a long series of flukes waves off McGregor Point. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

The color loss caused by the heavy pall of vog is very evident in the following shot. I had to do a LOT of fiddling both through the lens and in Photoshop to pull these two whales out of the bluish-gray murkiness.

 

Female and primary escort

A large female Humpback does a graceful flukes-up dive as her male “primary escort” keeps pace with her in hopes of mating with her. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

The young adult whale in these next few shots was attracting a lot of attention to itself by performing repetitive and quite energetic fluke slaps and peduncle throws over a period of almost a half an hour.

 

flukes slap

When I closely examined this photo during processing and cropping, I noticed several relatively large circular wounds (red spots) on the dorsal aspect of the whale’s flukes. These may have been caused by parasites or remoras. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

In this photos I found more of the circular red-colored wounds on the tail stock of the young adult whale. This is the first time I’ve seen this many open wounds on a single whale.

In this photo I found more of the circular red-colored wounds on the tail stock of the young adult whale. This is the first time I’ve seen this many open wounds on a single whale. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Despite the open wounds on its tail stock and flukes, this whale’s energetic fluke-slapping behavior went on unabated for more than 10 minutes.

Despite the open wounds on its tail stock and flukes, this whale’s energetic fluke-slapping behavior went on unabated for more than 10 minutes. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Whalewatching 2016: Part 7

13 Mar
A female Humpback whale cruises the waters of waters of Ma'alaea Bay in the company of her primary male escort.

A female Humpback whale cruises the waters of Ma’alaea Bay in the company of her primary male escort. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

23 January Cruise

Although this cruise didn’t include any of the violent behavior usually associated with surface-active competition pods or spectacular breaching, the weather and surface conditions were ideal for photography, and there were a few nice (if somewhat less spectacular) surprises.

A pair of whales performs a double flukes-up dive.

A pair of whales performs a double flukes-up dive. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Nice closeup shot of the flukes-up dive of a mature whale.

Nice closeup shot of the flukes-up dive of a mature whale. Note the neat rows of barnacles encrusting the whale’s flukes. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

A large female cruising at the surface sports a very distinctive dorsal fin with a pronounced hook at its tip.

A large female cruising at the surface sports a very distinctive dorsal fin with a pronounced hook at its tip. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Closeup shot from a different angle of the female with the hooked dorsal fin.

Closeup shot from a different angle of the female with the hooked dorsal fin. Such a distinctive feature, when paired with the unique coloration pattern of the ventral aspect of the flukes, serves as a strong identifier of an individual whale. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

This closeup shot of a whale's flukes reveal the distinctive wear patterns on the flukes' leading edges.

This closeup shot of a whale’s flukes reveal the distinctive wear patterns on the flukes’ leading edges. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Perhaps curious about the engine noise of the boat, a young Humpback calf swims close to to the Voyager.

Perhaps curious about the engine noise of the boat, a young Humpback calf swims close to the Ocean Voyager. Note the bright bluish-white of its short pectoral fins just below the surface. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

As the young calf swims past the Voyager to its starboard side, it lifts its head a bit above the surface to get a better look at the boat and its passengers crowding along its rails to get a better look at the newborn.

As the young calf swims past the Ocean Voyager on its starboard side, it lifts its head a bit above the surface to get a better look at the boat and its passengers crowding along its rails to get a better look at the newborn. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Nice closeup of a mature Humpback performing a round-out dive as it speeds past the Odyssey.

Nice closeup of a mature Humpback performing a round-out dive as it speeds past the Ocean Voyager. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

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