Whalewatching 2015: Part 9

28 May
breach! no time to focus - 7 March

Breach! This whale popped up so fast I didn’t have time to pull a good focus. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

I’m not sure how old I was when I first heard this old saying: “If March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb; if it comes in like a lamb it goes out like a lion.” I always wondered if it held true wherever one was in the world. It seems to do so even in Hawaii, because we got one Hell of a cranky March lion this weekend (7 – 8 March).

7 March Cruise

Very rough seas this day, with 4 to 6 foot swells, lots of chop, and whitecaps driven by strong northeasterly winds. Passengers and crew aboard the Ocean Intrigue had a very cold and wet ride out and back! However, this trip proved (once again) that you don’t need good weather to get great whale shots.

flukes-up extreme closeup 2 - 7 March

Nice close-up shot of a flukes-up dive. Note the many white scuff-marks on the leading edge of the flukes, as well as the “fringes” of the fluke’s trailing edge. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

The first hour and 15 minutes of the cruise was great: I took more than 500 shots; only kept 32, but they were all excellent.

Why it's called a Humpback - 7 March

This is why they’re called “Humpback” whales. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

Leviathan - 7 March

Leviathan! I had to back way off of the zoom to fit all of this huge female into the viewfinder. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

raft and whales - 7 March

I particularly like this shot because the whale has surfaced so close to the raft (which is about 15 feet long) you can clearly see the size difference. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

There were lots of very surface-active competition pods on the bay this day.

5 whale comp pod - 7 March

A five-whale competition pod. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

raft and whales - 7 March

Standing-room-only passengers on a Zodiac raft are transfixed in rapt attention as a competition pod of five whales passes close. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

I took several good pec-wave shots and a few very nice shots of flukes-up dives.

pec wave - 7 March

Nice shot of a “pec wave”. Without a nearby point of reference, it’s hard to believe this whale’s pectoral fin is more than 15 feet long. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

raft and pec wave - 7 March

A female Humpback rolls onto her left side and performs a lazy pec-wave as a raft-full of appreciative fans watch from a respectful distance. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

belly-up pec wave - 7 March

One whale (probably a female) in a competition pod has rolled completely over onto its back and is slowly waving both pectoral fins at the surface as another swims at its side. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

flukes-up dive - 7 March

This shot of the dorsal aspect of a young adult whale’s flukes shows the neatly-fringed trailing edge of its flukes. It’s believed that the fringes enhance the hydrodynamic characteristics of the flukes. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

 

I took a very interesting shot of one whale (a male?) gently draping a fin over the back of another larger whale (a female?). I only discovered this one while I was processing the day’s shots in Photoshop. Could this have been a prelude to whale sex?

whale embracing whale - sex? - 7 March

With its 15-foot pectoral fin, one whale gently “embraces” another. Is it whale sex? (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

dive boat and whale - 7 March

So… despite the cold, wet weather, everyone out on the bay that day, be they human…

breach! no time to focus 2 - 7 March

… or whale … we ALL had a GREAT Day!

 

HOWEVER… it takes two days to make a “weekend”…

——————

flukes-up 1 - 8 March

One of only four whale shots I kept this miserable day. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

8 March Cruise (…the second day…)

It was very cold under a heavy, dark overcast… in other words, a typically miserable early-March day. Captain Joe had almost no luck getting close to whales, let alone ones that were doing anything even remotely interesting. I took 84 shots; kept only four, all of which were flukes-up dives. They were not too bad, but… what a “meh!” day.

flukes-up 2 - 8 March

This whale seems to be saying “Good Riddance!” to a day of crappy weather. (Click on the image to see a larger version… but why bother! It was a rotten day!!!)

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