July 6, 2010

When you can't beat the heat.....

take to the water!

It's been so hot here that I haven't been able to do much crafting. Instead, I thought I'd share what we did as a family yesterday. My hubby is a biology professor and a scientist with the Blue Ocean Society. So in the summer, he is the naturalist on a whale watch boat most days, helping the captain to find the whales, talking to passengers about whale behavior and the local ecosystem, and conducting research on whale behavior. I've posted some of his amazing photos of a juvenile humpback whale that decided to play with our boat! This young whale (who is new to the area so she doesn't have a name yet) was hanging out right next to us, as you can see in the first photo.


Above you can see the blow hole on top of the whale's head. The greenish patch underneath the water to the right is the whale's pectoral fin (flipper), which is white but looks green underwater.

Here you can see the whale lifting that fin out of the water as she spins over onto her back. It also gives you a good look at her lower jaw.


Above you can see the whale "waving" at the boat. She did this repeatedly, and this time she actually splashed the passengers on the lower deck!


Here's a great look at the dorsal (back) side of the whale's fluke, or tail. She was lifting it up in the air and then splashing it down on the surface of the water. She did this 13 times in a row!


And this is a perfect shot of the ventral (belly) side of her fluke. All whales have a distinctive pattern of black and white on this side that is like a fingerprint and allows researchers to distinguish them from one another.

This whale actually spent a few minutes "napping" at the surface next to our boat, too. Altogether she was interacting with us for about 30 minutes. You might be wondering why she would behave this way around a boat. According to dear hubby, one theory is that young whales like this one engage in "play behavior", much like human babies, where they are learning about their environment through play. It could be that she genuinely saw the boat as another big animal and wanted it to play with her. As whales mature, some of these behaviors are believed to be used in communication with other whales.

I have been on many of these trips in the past and have never seen anything like this so close to the boat, so this is not what you should expect if you ever have the chance to go. But just seeing these amazing creatures in the water is an incredible experience and most definitely gives you a deeper appreciation for their fragile environment.

I hope you enjoy the photos! I hope to be back with something crafty soon. Thanks for stopping by!

6 comments:

Nance said...

Fantastic photos, Christina! How lucky you and your family are to be so close to these magical creatures! Thanks for sharing. My daughter will love the photos too. :-)

Marisa said...

How fun and what an amazing adventure!! This creatures are so amazing and to be able to see one up close and personal like that - memories for a lifetime!!

Stacey Schafer said...

Oh my goodness, C! These are amazing photos...my son loved them, too! ("so cool, mom!")

Laurie said...

What awesome pics! So amazing to be so close up for sure!

Shelley Germann said...

Awesome! What a great job to have! About 8 years ago we spent a month in Cape Cod. Can you believe we didn't get to go whale watching? Hubby had the vehicle and was working a lot. The kids and I were stranded back at out rental house (luckily close to the beach!) We did have a day to go to Woods Hole. It was so beautiful. We went to the Aquarium there. We all loved it!

Michele Gross said...

Wow!! These are really amazing pictures! What a special experience for everyone on the boat. Your hubby must have been on cloud 9 :)

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