2012 12 9- Whale sightings so far this season Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

Yesterday, Saturday 8th December Geoff Gardner phoned in with a whale swimming around the Triangle Diving diveboat with divers in the water looking for lionfish in 200 feet of water about a mile and a half north of North Rock. Apparently this whale was a lone animal and hung around the boat for some time.

A week ago today we had two sightings. Dr David Wingate spotted a whale breaching a mile of Spittal Pond. Judging from the description of the behaviour this would have been a humpback. The same day fishermen out on Challenger Bank saw a 'calf' (a yearling?) breaching with two full grown males alongside. These presumably would have been its mother and an escort.

A month ago some 35-45 whales were spotted off Elbow Beach. They covered an area of about a square mile some almost as close as the breakers. Although there was no breaching some specimens raised their flukes out of the water. They remained in the area for over an hour. Judging from the description, these sound like pilot whales.

We are particularly interested in these 'winter' whale sightings and will endeavour to obtain their fluke IDs to help us determine whether these are whales en route to the breeding grounds in the Caribbean or whether they might be whales hanging around the mid-ocean seamounts for the winter. Over the past six years we have consistently seen humpbacks from the last week of December.