Sunday, July 17, 2011

Whale show

We just returned after a 6,000 mile trip from South Texas, through Yellowstone, up the Alcan highway and then on the ferry to Kodiak. We'll probably show some of those pictures in the next few days. But here is what we recently saw.

No, its not the geysers of Yellowstone. Its a pod of whales seen form the 131 miles (9 hours ride)on the ferry from Homer to Kodiak. At one point we saw 17 spouts at the same time. There were at least 24 whales in the group and probably over 30. In fact about 1 hour later, another pod of similar size came along.

So, can we tell what type they are? Lets give it a try. Compare them to the handy dandy identification sheet.

Here we go.

First check spout. Its single and then spreads out into a "fan";

not 2 spouts in a "V"-shape. Do you a gree?

Then check the tail when they dive. You see it clearly. So that rules out the first bunch on the sheet which don't show much of the tail.

The tails are somewhat V shaped. So, is it a Humpback or a Right whale?

If you ask me, could be either one....because early in the dive, the peripheral tips point down (like a Humpback), but at the last minute they point up (like a Right whale). Hard, isn't it?

So I give up on the tail. Could be either one from the tail, but I would have favored a Right.

Fortunately a few swim parallel to the ferry. And there is the answer: the dorsal fin has a small beak on the back!!

So we saw 40 to 60 Humpbacks on one day! That's our story, and we're sticking to it!!

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