Minke, Humpback and Orca
We have seen all of these whales. Some afar some up close.
A blow made out at sea can mean only one thing.
The Minke sinks through the water like a giant eel. It is often floating on the top of the water with just the rim of its back and a small fin sticking out. It is impossible to get a sense of size as distances are so out of whack up here. There is no doubt that they are huge.
When I see one floating form not so far away it is a though a primordial monster from the deep has made a brief appearance. It is a silent shiny mass of flesh.
Then there is the blow; a loud spurting of a mass of water. At times this blow is accompanied with a trumpet – not unlike an elephant. This trumpet is deep. I don’t think that I have ever felt the tremor of this trumpet but I can imagine that it can be felt. At times I feel that it has reverberated around the zodiac. Unfortunately my excitement dominates the moment.
The slurp of their giant body can almost be felt as they slide into the water. No splash not sound, just a series of ripples. A slightly bigger arch before they disappear tends to denote a tail – the holy grail of whale watching.
Up close there have been many experiences. Once a Minke kept circling us while we were in the zodiacs. It would pop up have a little glide then duck down. – only to re-appear a quarter of the way around the circle. That is at about a 15 min break if were to be a clock.
It still amazes me that they don’t flip our zodiacs.
One night we were in the middle of a lecture about mermaids. I had been taken on a brief if not imaginative journey into the mystical and mythical. The staff radios were crackling and some people were scurrying and whispering to the side. We knew that something was a afoot. Then the call was made. Sorry about the lecture but there was a pod of orcas near the boat. A call which is often made and always is rewarding and spectacular.
Without grabbing jackets of camera I rushed out the side deck and sure enough there were orca or killer whale not far off. These whales are more like dolphins in their swimming. They go fast and do lots of dives and ducks along the way.
Then suddenly there was one just next to the boat. It flipped upside down and swam through the top of the water showing us its belly. IT’s black and white marking filled It truly was a sight to behold.