2015 03 29 Close encounters with humpback whales Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   
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Every year I seem to have very close encounters with humpback whales when they approach the boat and seem to want to communicate. These encounters are entirely on the whales' terms. They approach the boat and spyhop or lie under the boat. To classify the whales by gender and age I will sometimes get into the water to obtain their fluke IDs (sometimes they don't lift their tails out of the water).

All our research is conducted under a Protected Species Licence for Scientific Research Activities Licence # 14-11-22-15 issued by the Government of Bermuda, Department of Conservation Services
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If I am completely passive and patient, humpbacks will often display their curiousity and come for a closer look
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Sometimes when I get back in the boat the whales will spyhop, or tail lob or blow bubbles to attract our attention. When a blast of bubbles hits the bottom of the hull boat it makes quite a noise!
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This encounter last 2 1/2 hours and the next day we found the same whales and the continued with the same kind of antics. Photographs of a similar encounter are mounted on canvas and are currently on display at Masterworks Museum of Fine Art.
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We have identified the scarred male escort (in our catalogue #1570 1 bd 2015 03 22 as &03 23) as a whale called Volley (NAHWC #8318) and he is a calf born in 2001 the calf of Toon (NAHWC #0837). Volley had the very unusual distinction (for a North Atlantic humpback) of having black pectoral fins. The very flirtatious and curious female remains unidentified
 
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