2009 04 19 A group of 14 or more whales and another 28 fluke ids with interesting matches Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

Set out at 9am from Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club on Dr Andrew West's Runabout with Camilla, Andrew West, Jenny Gibbons, Layton and Lisa Outerbridge and myelf. Being a Sunday we didn't delay on Sally Tuckers and headed straight out to Challenger where we had no problems picking out the blows of whales exactly where we expected them.

 

 

Soon we were with a group of three whales getting underwater footage but when another boat approached we left the threesome and headed off to look for more whales. Soon we were following a group of 10-12 whales who remained elusive, but provided plenty of fluke ids. We diverted to lobtailing whales and a breacher but eventually came back to the same group of whales and followed them around for more than an hour and more whales seemed to join in. At this time there seemed to be at least 12-14 or more humpbacks in very tight formation with some surface activity but not as much as the morning. This didn't seem to be a bunch of males chasing a female. In fact it appreared to be more than one large female with probably some juveniles of both sexes and some adult males. They surfaced every five minutes together, blew several times and then fluke dived almost simultaneously for another five minutes. They did not head in any particular direction but rather careened all over the Challenger crown. This provided a gold mine of fluke ids, the only problem being deciding which fluke was going to present itself the soonest, without being obstructed by another whale in the foreground! On a preliminary inspection we have already found one match, to a whale that was here a year ago to the day! We took 28 individual whale fluke ids today, the most we've achieved in a day!