Antarctica – Humpback whale sightings

Discussion in 'Landscape & Cityscape' started by Antarctican, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. Antarctican

    Antarctican TPF Noob!

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    The humpback whales around Antarctica were quite curious about our ship and after we would spy them ‘blowing’ way off in the distance, they would come very close to the ship, and even our small zodiacs, to investigate us. It was this kind of trusting behaviour that led to so many whales being slaughtered in the Antarctic region in the late 1800s and early 1900s. (As on the other threads, I apologize for the terrible quality of the scans of photographs)

    “Thar she blows”
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    Sequence as the whale dives down and its tail is the last part to slide below the surface of the water.
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  2. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'd rather see the behavior than not. Good job.
     
  3. lostprophet

    lostprophet No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    thats a great series of fluking shots!
    If I ever get the chance to see a Whale fluking I know I could die happy

    couple of interesting facts for you

    Humpbacks have the longest flippers of any whale, about 5m long
    The male Humpback has the longest most complicated song of any of the Whales
    and they also have the longest confirmed migration of any mammal
     
  4. Antarctican

    Antarctican TPF Noob!

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    LP, you would have died happy seeing these whales. In one bay where they were known to come, we got into the zodiacs* (there were about 10 zodiacs) and positioned them in a large horseshoe shape. The whales (there were only about 3 that time) appeared in about 2 minutes. They pretty much played hide and seek...they'd swim in the middle of the horseshoe, then dive down, then reappear somewhere behind (and close) to a zodiac, and 'blow'. They repeated this over and over for about 12 minutes. Given they could go anywhere they wanted in the bay and ocean, they clearly chose to come and see/play with us. To have this huuuuuuge creature 'blow' (breathe) a few meters from you was just so exciting and, ummm, mindblowing. We were all awed.

    One time we also had a dolphin come and play in the bow-wake of the zodiac for a minute. Luckily, I was sitting near the front on that outing. I almost could have reached out and touched it. I was so flabbergasted I didn't even think to take any pictures. [Actually, if I'd tried to get my camera out of the drybag, I'd have missed the whole show.]


    * zodiacs, for those who haven't seen one, are an inflatable rubber pontoon arranged in a horseshoe shape around a hard flooring, and the passengers sit on top of the pontoon. They are run by an outboard motor, hold about 12 people (the ones we were on - they come in different sizes of course) and are very manouevreable. You are sitting so close to the water you can reach down and put your hand in it. You can tell from the angle of the shots of the whale's tail as it dove down how close to the water we were. The other shots were taken from the ship, so we were up high for those ones.
     
  5. lostprophet

    lostprophet No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    to have a Dolphin that close and to see a Whale fluke I could die twice and still be happy
     
  6. JTHphoto

    JTHphoto TPF Noob!

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    nice shots anty, i have some similar shots of what I believe are "Pilot" whales from off the coast of BC... they came right up to us while we fishing in a little two-man dingy boat... it was breathtaking being that close to something so massive...
     
  7. Antarctican

    Antarctican TPF Noob!

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    ^^^ It's kind of hard to explain how 'awesome' and humbling the experience is, isn't it?
     
  8. JTHphoto

    JTHphoto TPF Noob!

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    yeah, it really is... "awesome" is the only word I can think of because i was just in a state of awe the whole time...
     
  9. Antarctican

    Antarctican TPF Noob!

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    Found a pic that shows how close the whales would come to the zodiacs as they played their diving game around us. The angle at which this one was taken makes it look even closer than it was...the whale was at least 40 feet/13 metres away, and they never even rocked the zodiacs as they went past.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Fangman

    Fangman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Lovely to share your pictures - can see why you are smitten - truly a holiday of a lifetime. The chap in the village rom the Survey team has followed the migration from South to North and has wonderful pics and video which I saw at a talk when he came as a speaker to Rotary.
     
  11. Tangerini

    Tangerini TPF Noob!

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    Wow so amazing!
     

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