Humpbacks and Spinners Visit Us

What a weekend! We started our sightings on Friday’s Breakfast with the Whales. Throughout the trip, we estimate that we saw spouts from 20 different Humpbacks, but we spent most of our time with two pods. The first was a Mom/very small calf/escort pod. Baby was interested in the boat, and eventually Mom must have decided we weren’t much of a threat because she let him come over to investigate. He spent considerable time looking at us before moving on. We then found a competitive pod of 7 whales. We got to see some breaching, tail lobs and peduncle throws from this group. Interestingly, the whale in the front of the pod for most of the time we were watching (which we assume is the female) had a lot of white markings on her body. She’d be very easy to identify if we see her again before the season is over. On Saturday’s Breakfast with the Whales we found a competitive pod of 7 whales (again) — this pod did not include our white-marked whale from Friday though — who were making a lot of noise on the surface, spouting and trumpeting and splashing. We saw 6 breaches just 40 feet from the boat. We also came across a couple of other pods who were surfacing and spouting. And on Sunday’s 10:00 Whale Watch, we found two different sub-orders of cetaceans — spinner dolphins and Humpbacks. We spent most of our time with the Humpbacks though, watching a quiet Mom/calf pod.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: In 1985, a Humpback whale nicknamed “Humphrey” swam into San Francisco Bay and then up the Sacramento River towards Rio Vista, Ca. After a couple of weeks in fresh water, Humphrey started showing signs of physical stress, turning grey and listless. Researchers and scientists were at a loss on how to help him back to the Pacific Ocean, until an acoustician offered the recordings he had made of humpback whales feeding as a way to lure Humphrey down the river to the ocean. It worked — Humphrey followed a ship broadcasting the sounds down the river and as soon as he encountered salt water perked up and began doing longer deeper dives. On November 4th, 1985, at 4:36 pm, he swam past the Golden Gate Bridge and headed south. Humphrey showed up again in 1990…and I’ll tell you how researchers managed to redirect him again tomorrow.

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