January 23rd- 27th January 2009 more whales off South Shore and reports of a newborn 15 foot baby Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

More whales!

Eugene Lottimore phoned to tell me if whales sighted off  Astwood Park on Friday between 12 and 1 pm. These were four whales with two of them looking smaller. Could these be two females with yearling calves? 

On Saturday morning at 8 am I walked out onto our porch and saw the arching back of a humpback whale not 200 hundred yards from the breakers. This was followed immediately by another arching back of a smaller whale. The two were moving slowly and leisurely in a westerly direction and spouting every couple of minutes in some 70-100 feet of water. Judging from the size and behaviour of the two whales, they seemed to be a mother and calf (a yearling). At 9.15 am I saw four whales off Elbow Beach. These were active whales with tail-lobbing, possibly signaling their position to the other two whales? They moved in an easterly direction towards Grape Bay Beach. I watched them move eastwards for about half an hour. This was clearly a separate group of whales from the two I had seen earlier as they had been spotted about 8 am off Marley Beaches. At 9.45 am I had a call from my sister with several whales spouting some miles off Devonshire Bay. This might have been all six? whales together because I did not find whales off Grape Bay Beach again.

Eugene Lottimore of Whale View Lane in Warwick phoned again on Sunday to tell me that he had once again seen four whales off Warwick around 9.40 am and that two of them seemed to be smaller than the others. Fishermen out at Sally Tuckers and Challenger Bank saw whales on Sunday.

On Monday the 26th Kelly Winfield spotted two whales a couple of miles off Warwick Long Bay at 11.15 am. On Tuesday the 27th January both Kelly and I found two whales off Warwick Long Bay and then Kelly saw five separate whales from Gibb's Lighthouse around the South West Breaker area.

Perhaps the most interesting observations come from fisherman Kevin Winter who says he's never seen as much bait and predator fish, tuna, sharks, wahoo or whales as this year. He has a bag of frozen bait taken from the stomach of a tuna and will take this for analysis at the Aquarium. More on that when it's done. Kevin has seen whales almost every day on Challenger or Sally Tuckers for the last month. A week  ago Monday he saw what he describes as a 15-foot baby humpback whale with a larger whale. At 12-15 feet this can only be a baby humpback whale a couple of weeks old. The identification was a good one with the baby only 50 yards from the boat. This is when babies would be born in the Caribbean so this baby cannot have migrated so early in the season from the Caribbean to here. It must have been born on the Bermuda or Challenger seamounts. There is obviously a correlation between the large numbers of humpbacks here and the massive amount of bait, including finger-sized shrimp or krill. But spotting a new-born calf in Bermuda waters may be an indication of a very healthy humpback whale population with possible 'over crowding' down in the Caribbean.

All of this is further evidence of whales overwintering on the Bermuda seamount. I guess that these are predominantly female humpbacks too young or old to be interested in breeding down south and possibly also mothers with yearling calves. Exciting stuff!!!Laughing

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