More and more blue whales are being sighted during our trips and we are so excited to see the season starting off around the ‘usual’ time. Officially, the blue whale season will start later on this month and hopefully the appearance of them is a good sign that we will have a strong season. We have had a few sightings of the individual whales that we see annually as well, including a blue with a very unique fluke nicknamed ‘Delta’. Not only do the naturalists get to know these whales based on their unique mottling or flukes, but they learn their behaviors as well! For example, one is nicknamed ‘bubbles,’ as it blows a ton of bubbles under the water right before it takes a dive. Along with our visual cues of each individual, we also have new photo ID interns who are taking and processing photos in order to match these whales with their official Cascadia Research Collective ID.
Every four months, new photo ID interns are brought onboard and I like to spend a few blogs introducing them and their work. One of our four newest interns is Jannet! Jannet is a graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has always been passionate about the ocean and marine life and she is truly enjoying being out in the field taking photos and contributing to marine mammal photo identification research. This past March, she completed a marine mammal naturalist training program and is really excited to share what she has learned and hopes to inspire those around her to appreciate marine mammals and their ocean environment. Jannet exudes passion for the ocean,
“I enjoy photography and hope that my photos capture the beauty of marine mammals and inspire all of us to engage in conservation efforts for the health of our oceans and our earth.”
Not only have we been seeing blues, fins, and lots of humpback whales, but also another species of whale that we do not see often; the Bryde’s whale! As a matter of fact, looking back at last year’s blog, they were also seen last June as well. I always thought the name of this whale species was pronounced phonetically, but came to find out is it pronounced (/Bru: dә/). They look just like a fin whale, but when you get close to them, they lack the lower white jaw and their rostrum has three distinct ridges in front of its blowholes. We have had a few sightings already and heard that they have been sighted all down our coast recently. I have yet to see one and hope to very soon!
We have some fantastic photos showcased by Harbor Breeze’s deck hand Erik Combs, their photographer Tim Hammond, and of course, our new photo ID interns including Jannet!
Dolphins, whales, and more feeding frenzies have been sighted recently, so come on out and start your summer vacation off right with a voyage out on the open sea!