Gorgeous, gorgeous, and oh, gorgeous!

I thought things at Beam Reach were awesome last week, but man, they just keep getting better and better! These past few days have been absolutely STUNNING! It’s been clear, sunny, and even a little wild on the water! Monday we had some wild waves, and had our first true chance to test our sea legs. Luckily we all passed the test, and had a blast sitting out on the bow of the Gato Verde, enjoying the sunshine and salty wind on our faces as the boat plowed through the most significant waves we’ve experienced yet! And the best part was that we got to see orcas after riding what felt like a mini roller coaster!

Yesterday and today have been some of the most beautiful days we’ve had out on the water. It’s been bright and sunny and clear, and there have been huge, and I mean huge, amounts of whales gathered together! Today there were at least 40 clustered into 2-3 groups and we saw almost the same yesterday–someone (sorry, not sure which whale watching operator it was) called yesterday one of the best days of the season, and I believe it! The orcas were resting for a good portion of the day, and it was crazy to see them all gathered together, rising and falling in uniform├é┬ásynchronization in such huge numbers. Suddenly, around Turn Point, the whales woke from their resting state, and almost flew down the coast! They would absolutely blast through the water–it was porpoising like I’ve never seen before.

You truly get an idea of their speed and power when they’re in travel mode! We even got to observe foraging behavior, as many of the whales stuck around to feed, making quick lunges, deeper dives, and moving in random, sporadic movements! All the behavior changes were great for me, since part of my research question will be comparing echolocation click rates and behavior states; I got a lot of excellent data to analyze!

Today was just a continuation of yesterday’s amazing weather and behavior. I have never (granted, I’m still a newbie at this whale research thing) seen as many whales grouped together as I did today. We heard that members from J, K and L pods were clustered in the super-pod we followed! In addition to huge numbers of whales, they were so active: so many breaches (I saw at least 30!), spyhops, tail slaps, peck slaps, nuzzling…you name the behavior, the whales were doing it! I think they were enjoying the beautiful weather just as much as we were! I was honestly star-struck by the number of whales and gorgeous behaviors we saw today. I was honored to be able to observe their world, and so thankful that Beam Reach has given me this wonderful opportunity to pursue my love of orcas! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (likely every post I make!), these whales are more than gorgeous, they’re more than amazing. They inspire me to do everything in my power to help them, and I’m so glad that this is my life right now. I love every second of this!

1 Comment

  1. Michael Boulton

    September 25th, 2010 at 10:43

    Thank you for your superb report and wonderful photos.
    Best wishes in your research!!

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