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2023 Research Blog #2 | Michael Fishbach | No More Blues & Rare Humpback Sighting

Our week 3 guests hailed from New Jersey, England, North Carolina, and California and all were old friends of ours.

Our week 4 guests were from Virginia, California, and England and included shipping industry personnel and their friends and marine colleagues.

The general story of the 2023 season is now clear. It is a very poor year for food production

in our working area and whale numbers are as low as we have ever seen them. Blue whales

are astonishingly a rare sight these past 2 weeks. Still, we have had fabulous encounters with

humpback, Bryde's, and fin whales, and numerous super energetic pods of hunting dolphins.

Week 3 produced one of the best jumping dolphins displays we have ever seen here, and

Week 4 gave us the rare opportunity to see a pair of humpbacks that breached, tail lobbed,

and head lunged non-stop for the better part of an hour.

And we departed in high seas while they traveled north and were still at it, not knowing how

long this awe-inspiring display actually lasted for.

During week 4 the weather switch flipped from the cool weather to days in the 80's where we are quite warm.

Seabird numbers are down, as is the diversity of species observed, but with us working in an area that is not as productive as usual this is no surprise.

I will say this report of low production and few blue whales is not necessarily alarming. We know there are blue whales just beyond our working area, and we have seen productivity in our visits there on the few days the winds allow for such lengthy excursions. Something in the currents, and the mixing is different this year, perhaps caused by our changing climate, perhaps not. Whales are indeed here in our area, humpbacks are plentiful, diversity of species is healthy, but our most abundant and iconic species the blue whale has shifted it's time in Baja to do what they must do, which is to take full advantage of where the food is, and gorge on it in order to keep their massive bodies robust and healthy.

We have plans for this week to find the blue whales as it has now been over a week since we have seen one.

And here is a bonus. I lovely short video with our dear friends and colleagues at SeaLegacy which features both them and us and our work, which was produced by Sony and SeaLegacy. Click on this link for a fun few minutes:

As always we are happy to hear from any and all of you, so please feel free to let us know what you think.

Images are of in order: A magnificent Baja sunrise to start the day - by Roger Proudfoot A bottlenose dolphin leaps high against the towering Sierra de Giganta Mtns. Leaping Dolphins near Carmen Island by Delphi Heather leads a hike into the wet Canyon of Las Parras on a windy day A birth defect perhaps, this humpback's tail fluke never opened up after birth, we named her Foldy Maybe our favorite humpback of 2023, another angle of Foldy A pair of head-lunging humpbacks A tail-slapping Humpback Profile of a typical Bryde's whale dorsal fin, unique in the whale world A very wet towering humpback breach is always a highlight

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