Published: December 18th 2008December 16th 2008
Right Whale underwater
My Pentax Optio W60 works underwater. I stretched across the top of the inflatable tube with my arm hanging down the side and my hand and camera just in the water. Most of the photos were junk, but this one came out...
The right whale was right under the boat. The head was just below the gunnel, the rest disappeared beneath the hull. The head nearly broke surface it was so shallow. The captain laughed at my concern as I stepped off the seat to the 'safety´ of the deck.
At the start of the cruise the naturalists on board cautioned us that it was the end of the season and we might not see any whales. Once underway they did a great job of prepping us on how to behave. Don’t stomp around on the deck as the noise could scare the whales away. Don’t rush from one side of the boat to the other. And stay in the boat at all times...
From the town of Puerto Piramides
we powered out for maybe 15 minutes and found a mom and calf. In my normal Southeast Alaska habitat, when we see a whale while boating various rules and regulations require us to hold position or move away. Here we drove right up to the mom and calf and cut the motor. The naturalists stated that the whales know you are there and if they want to visit, they will.
And they did get quite close for a bit then dove. After they surfaced we moved to another area near-by. We saw some breaching from a distance, then it got unbelievable.
Basically a mom and calf decided to hang out under and around the boat for about 20 minutes. At one point mom ´sat´ with her head a couple feet from the boat just hanging at the surface for a good 5 minutes while the calf maneuvered around and under the boat. The photos tell the story, but you do miss the whooshing of the exhaled breath and the shower of fishy smelling mist... All together we saw about 8 whales.
I am staying in a great hostel in Puerto Madryn. The day long tour of the Valdes Peninsula
included about an hour and a half whale watch from a huge zodiac type boat and several stops around the peninsula to view sea lions, elephant seals, rhea and other wildlife. For 280 pecos (US$1 = 3.4 pecos) it is a great deal. Folks who when on the same tour the next day saw a single mom and calf pair.
There are more photos below