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A Hammerhead Shark In Our Panga!

Our week 7 guests hailed from California, Baja California and Arizona.

Now, how might one ask could we possibly have ended up with a hammerhead shark in our panga? Simple answer: There was a juvenile hammerhead swimming above a sandy bottom shallow part of the sea and we tracked it for about 2 minutes. It was not shy, and our able bodied and ever curious captain Alberto reached over the side of the panga and simply snatched the shark from the sea. Alberto appeared more stunned that anyone with the shark in his bare hands. He confirmed this was the very first time in his life he has pulled a live shark from the sea with his bare hands. We all checked the shark out and after perhaps 2 minutes Alberto placed it back into it’s home and off it went on its merry way!

This was just after an amazing encounter with the humpback whale we have come to call “bubbles”. It seems this whale is intent on trying to figure out how to catch sardines by blowing bubble nets on its own. As we have sent the drone up to film this on more than one occasion, it is clear to us that bubbles has a lot to learn about the bubble net process. We suggest this whale should get a partner to be more effective. None the less bubbles does succeed at times, and all the humpback images in this blog are of none other than bubbles. This whale has been around for our whole season, so by now we know and recognize it easily.

We had wonderful dolphin encounters in flat calm water in weeks beginning, a frigate bird flying overhead with an eel in its beak, which we watched it consume, the same blue whales again with one new exception which was a skittish juvenile. There were a lot of fin whales as well, and one special late afternoon which was super calm and had us surrounded by about 13 whale in total from 3 species. The breathing, all that breath, again and again for the better part of an hour is what stands out for me.

The season has now ended for us and we are packing up the operation. Delphi has been amazing to work with and our work continues, as we drive south to catch our flight home in less than 2 days time.

A final report will come your way in the coming month or two. The season has been a grand one although we leave with some concerns. It seems climate change has reached us here in the Sea of Cortez, and while it is still amazing to come here and bear witness to the bounty of life, this place is not recognizable compared to what it was like 10-20 years ago. We are thrilled to document the changes, and will eagerly come again to see what awaits the whales and us next year.

Thanks so much for following our 24th season down here in the land where the cactus desert and towering mountains meet the whales and the sea.

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