Saturday, May 22, 2010
Whale of a good time.. yeah, really
I went out on a 4-hour whale watching tour today with the Dolphin Fleet in Provincetown, Mass. What fun.
We had such a successful day that Mike the tour guide/oceanographer on our boat reminded us several times that we were seeing "an obscene" amount of whales. "Remember, it's not always like this," he said. I guess he was afraid of us overselling future trips.
It was wonderful, if not just a little obscene. We saw between 30 and 35 whales all around the boat. And one was a calf hanging out with its mama.
I had seen humpback whales in Hawaii where they mate. In New England, in the spring, humpbacks are summering, eating, feeding, and the behavior is different. They agitate the water, frightening the fish so they gather in a nice snack-like clump. The whales then dive down, turn around and drive up to the surface with mouths open.
Mike taught us to keep an eye on bubbles and birds. The whales blew the bubbles to agitate the fish. The birds zoomed in to pick up fish the whales missed. Birds even sat on the whales' mouths as the giant mammals moved on the surface ... apparently waiting to pick up fish that didn't get swallowed up.
The whales gave us a show that just wouldn't end. In fact, our time was up and we had to return to Provincetown long before they had filled their bellies. Beautiful. It was just a wonderful day... great weather, endangered species trusting us to hang out in their feeding ground. And, as Mike says, remember, it's not always like this.
Photos and video by Robin J Phillips