2011 03 26- 10 hours on the water, 30-40 whales, another 15+ flukes IDs, some matches/ resighting! Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

The winds were calm, the seas a bit rolly from the past few days of high winds, but the visibility in the water was 100 feet. We seemed to be floating on air as we moved over Bermuda platform. The shipwreck near Chubb Heads was visible in every detail some 70 feet below us. Almost right away we found a pair in 50 feet of water. One had been entangled with a prominent white scar around its peduncle. Like many of the entangled whales we have encountered, the whale was cautious with us. Despite two hours trying to swim close enough to film them in these crystal clear waters with the coral below as a backdrop, the pair, later accompanied by an escort, remained elusively just out of reach. Below left is a fluke ID of one of the pair. There were three commercial whale watching boats out there also with mothers and yearlings also in shallow water. We've had rough weather for some days so these humpbacks were probably resting in the safety of shallow water. This first wave of migrants coming by our shores are probably newly pregnant mothers with yearling calves. The mothers need to get up to the feeding grounds as quickly as possible to put on the blubber in preparation for giving birth next winter and weaning the calf. We obtained another dozen fluke IDs plus two from Richard Lee and another sent to us by Becky Walerius.

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Above left one of the pair with the entanglements scars and above right the fluke ID sent by Rebbeca Walrius. Within an hour of receiving yesterday's fluke IDs Judie Clee matched the whale above left to the NAHWC catalogue as HWC7187  first photographed in 1994 in Newfoundland. Dr Jooke Robbins has identified the photo above right as NAHWC#8209 also known in the Gulf of Maine as Pawprint first identified in 1993. Thanks Becky for sending this fluke ID to us and this invaluable contribution to science

For more fluke IDs see below:

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Judie Clee has also matched the black fluke above right to oor 0244 1 bd 2009 04 14 as. This whale was photographed by myself and seperately by Kelly Winfield here in Bermuda on the 14th of April 2009. Dr Jooke Robbins has identified it as NAHWC#0765 first photographed in 1984 in the Gulf of Maine. Cool!

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The fluke above left, if you look carefully, is the same as the one above. Dr Jooke Robbins has identified this as Empanage, a Gulf of Maine whale with little known about it yet. The whale above right Judie Clee has matched to NAHWC #3126, first photographed in Newfoundland in 1980, 31 years ago. The tear in its fluke, couldbe for any number of reasons but is new

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The photo above left has already been matched by our matching queen, Judie Clee as NAHWC#1443 "Buzzard" first photographed 28 years ago in 1983. This whale has been ID'ed in Newfoundland and the Dominican Republic.

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