2012 01 09 First photographs of humpbacks for 2012 including a calf and a female and escort Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

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We set out at 10 am this morning with Roland Lines captaining Ocean Potion and Camilla Stringer as first mate. I thought I saw a spout in the distance and we eventually found a calf around mid-day TU. It was very difficult to keep track of this whale despite the calm weather and it kept giving us the slip. It was in 'stealth mode', with barely a visible spout. This whale surfaced to breathe in 6-7 minute cycles. It did a full breach once and appeared to be a calf although probably a month old at least. The only way to really see how old a calf is would be by observing it underwater. We did not see its mother at that time. I can only assume its mother was below and the calf was doing 'the circle thing' above and then diving down. Was the mother feeding on the edge as we have seen in the past? If this was a calf, could it have been the same calf I saw recently from Spittal Pond? It was frustrating losing this whale in such perfect conditions but this has happened many times before. At around 3.30 we photographed the pair of whales to the right in the same place. These two looked like a female (the one with the curved dorsal fin) and a male escort. Were they associated with the calf we saw a couple of hours earlier?

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Above left, one of the pair photographed from behind. Above right, how can you lose a whale on a calm day like this? Easy. after six hours on the water, three whales including what appreared to be a calf, and a partial fluke ID. A great start to the 2012 season. Delvin Bean phoned me to tell me he had seen two whales on Challenger yesterday, Sunday the 8th of January. And another call from Kevin Gregory to inform me he had seen a pair of whales swimming together around NE beacon on Saturday 7th January, around 2 pm in 20 fathoms. The pair of humpbacks Kevin witnessed seemed to be in no hurry to get anywhere and were moving anti-clockwise around Bermuda. It is important to log as many sightings of our 'winter' whales as possible and I encourage anyone who sees whales at this time of the year to phone or email me with the details