Tuesday’s 10:00 Whale Watch started out with a BANG, and then just kept getting better. As soon as we left the bay we saw a big splash, and then watched as the whale who created it breached about 10 more times. This whale was part of a competitive pod of 3 whales, and as we paralleled the pod south, they started really getting active on the surface. Our onboard naturalist Angelica estimates that we saw at least 50 tail lobs, and lots of peduncle throws and head lunges from this group. For those of us who could tear our eyes away from all that action, there were other whales from different pods breaching to our starboard side and behind us. All told, if any of us could have gotten over our excitement enough to keep track, we probably saw more than 60 breaches on that trip. At one point we could see 3 different surface-active pods of 3 whales each, and we thought that if we could have stayed out a little longer, they all might have joined up (they appeared to be on that path), but all good things must come to an end…and we had to head back to the Bay.
Captain Claire’s Humpback Fact of the Day: Humpback Whales play host to all kinds of other animals. Besides the barnacles we often see on the Humpbacks’ flukes and other skin surfaces, the whales can also carry tape worms, lung worms, sinus flukes, and whale lice (which are related to skeleton shrimp) among others. Not all of these parasites actually harm the whale (which means that technically, they can’t really all be considered “parasites”). In fact, the barnacles might actually benefit the male Humpbacks who appear to use the sharp edges of the shells (perhaps inadvertently) as weapons during competitive battles.