Week 5 – A Significant Number of Fin Whales
Our week 5 guests hailed from Virginia, Washington DC, England and Florida.
This week was a reunion of old friends with all guests except one has been here to Baja with us multiple times previously. Many ideas for helping the great whales were shared among the backdrop of many whales, wind-free days, and spectacular Baja scenery!
The season continued to have blue whales almost every day, but few new ones, and perhaps the second biggest surprise of the week being the arrival of a significant number of fin whales. The biggest surprise came right on day one and right in the morning. We found the rare sight of a mother and a very small and young calf grey whale pair. This pair who were travelling south had many bottlenose dolphins erupting all around them as they took their surface breaths. We were able to follow the whales simply by tracking the dolphins, who of course were, in turn, tracking the whales. The calf had to be just weeks old and often swam right on top of its mothers back. It seems certain this calf was born in the Sea of Cortez, and what an odd thing, in a year where over in the birthing and nursing lagoon of Magdalena bay there are very few grey whale calves.
We had a couple of very nice Bryde’s whales one day where everyone on board could clearly see the different falcate shape of this species dorsal fin, and differentiate one from the other by their respective dorsal fin shapes.
Also, we had the spectacular sight of seeing a humpback whale that has come to be known as “Bubbles” bubble net feeding and was able to capture its strategy of surrounding a ball of sardines from above with our drone. We also saw a blue whale with its pouch full open it’s lower jaw to expel the unwanted water from its throat. And finally, we had a humpback whale breach many times very close to our boat so one and all could see the glory and feel the thunder of the landing whale crashing into the sea. It is good to note the whales that are here are managing to feed, although too many of these whales appear thin.
The weeks are passing by now, with only 2 more to go. Please stay tuned for next weeks report as the 2019 season in Baja begins to wind itself down.