Mar 11th 08 Diary entry Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

 

11 March 08

We set off today at 9.00 from Devonshire Bay with Dan and Andrea from the Sea Shepherd's Farley Mowat and Scott Stewart. The following notes were taken by Andrea. At 10.30 we saw two whales about two miles offshore Sonesta. Wind was about 5 knots from the NNE with high tide around 13.00. The whales appeared to be heading east in water about 200 feet deep. We spotted a whale again at 10.43 and then lost it. Dan dived in the water to see if the whale might be sleeping and to hear any whales sounds. We continued heading west and at 11.56 in shallow water of 150 feet saw another whale about 1/2 miles south of South West Breaker. 12.24 two humpbacks about a mile south east of South West Breaker heading east. 12.33 two humpbacks heading east in 250 feet of water. We lost the whales but Andrea thought she saw a whale fluke to the east some distance away. We headed east and at 12.51 picked up two humpbacks 3 miles south of Sonesta in deep water. We followed these whales east with sightings at 13.03, 13.12, 13.21. We lost the whales and Dan was overboard again to look for them and listen. At 13.31 we picked up two humpbacks again 13.44, 13.52, 12.04, 14.15, 14.19, 14.36, 14.47, 15.03, 15.12, 15.17, 15.24, 15.32, 15.37, 15.45, 15.49, 15.57, 16.15, 16.23, 16.27, 16.35 and 16.40. All of these sightings were made while travelling in an easterly direction at about 4 knots about five miles offshore the South Shore of Bermuda. At times the whales came close to the boat and once I got in the water with the camera when a whale approached the boat from behind at less than 50 yards away. Unfortunately the whale disappeared. Visibility was excellent, water temperature about 68. There were two whales together most of the time, one with a white and black fluke, one with an all black fluke. One had a perfectly formed dorsal fin with no markings or scars. Fully grown and with an undamaged dorsal fin it would appear to be a female. The other was always at her side and he had a less well-defined dorsal fin that was scarred from fights and was probably a male. There was a third whale that sometimes joined them, sometimes moved some distance apart and appeared to be very large, larger than the other two. Two lumps on either side of its body when it surfaced were the bones showing through his blubber, an indication the whale had lost much of its blubber from fasting in the Caribbean for some months. Over a period of six hours it would seem that we had spotted as many as three or four different whales, or pods of whales all moving consistently in an easterly direction about 2-5 miles offshore Bermuda. We were following the same two or three whales for most of the afternoon. Because winds were low and swells were 1-2 feet we were able to pick out the whales easily, sometimes following their footprints left on the surface even if the whales didn't surface. Because we were able to parallel their easterly progress at times they surfaced close to the boat but kept moving. Above is a fluke shot of one of the two whales.