We had a fantastic afternoon of whale watching aboard the Sanctuary today with Captain Dave and his A-team. Though the swells created from the storms this past week are still present, they seem to be coming down steadily. It was a beautiful ride out to the southwest corner of the bank where we found over a dozen scattered humpbacks many of which appeared to be subsurface feeding.
|Gladiator next to boat|
We observed a range of associated humpback formations as whales joined and separated from one another throughout intermittent periods of travel and subsurface feeding. These whales included Colt, Circus, Gladiator, Aerospace, Boomerang’s 2012 calf, Bounce, Nile, Pitcher and Putter.
|Nile and Putter|
One rather steady group which fascinated us today was Nile, Pitcher (a duo who has spent a lot of time together this past season), and Putter. Nile and Putter, having a common mother but separated by years, are brother and sister. But is this association a serendipitous meeting or more meaningful? Currently, there is no evidence linking kinship to associations. Our seeing these related whales in a single group is more likely linked to the benefits of collaborative feeding and the likelihood of having a run-in at the common feeding ground mom took them as calves. Nonetheless, we still have a huge amount to learn about these animals, and I certainly hope there are some surprises along the way!