In the afternoon we had a nice group of Pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus). Some animals swam close to the boat. A little further away, a small group with a tiny calf and several juvenile animals moved through the sea. The gestation period of these animals is 16 months. What a long time! But the sea is a challenging habitat and not every calf survives. In particular, Pilot whales have often documented that mothers keeps their dead calf on the surface for days and are accompanied by other adult animals. It is a mourning process that suggests that these animals have a social culture. A few days ago there was a report that the same mourning behavior was observed even in a well-known group of orcas off the east coast of the United States.
On our way back to the harbor we could observe a small group of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).
During an encounter with marine mammals, it is usually possible for us to recognize the sighted species at first sight. But sometimes it happens that a little bit of puzzle work has to be done. This happend on our last trip of the day.
Right on the coast a baleen whale moved its way. We were lucky enough to accompany him, or did he accompany us? Each time Filipe gave the animal room, the animal approached us again.
When we see a baleen whale, it is not always clear at first sight which whale species it is. What we see is the back and the fin … but what is it? In this case, we put together the individual puzzle pieces. The size of the animal, the dorsal fin, the head area with the number of ridges, coloring of the head area, shape of spout, body coloration and surface behavior give us an idea of who we interact with here. You see, sometimes it’s really exciting detective work! We become sea detectives! 🙂
Today we were allowed to be close to a Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis)! What a wonderful and exciting experience! Because of their distribution, Sei whales are divided into two subspecies – Northern Sei whale and Southern Sei whale. By the way, the Southern Sei whales can get a bit bigger. Our sighting was a Northern Sei whale.
According to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), large whales are under protection and must not be hunted. Despite the moratorium, some nations continue to hunt Sei, Finn, Mink, Bryde and Sperm whales. This is crime against nature, crime against these wonderful creatures of the sea. Our blog from Monday (23.07.2018 – Be gentle, not cruel) deals with the issue of whaling in Iceland. Here you will also find the action of Sealagacy we talked about. If you klick on the second link you can support their commitment against the pointless killing. Thank you in advance for your commitment!
By Fatima Kutzschbach
Sightings of the day
10:00 Bottlenose dolphins, Pilot whales, one Blainville Beaked whale
15:00 Pilot whales
15:30 Pilot whales, Bottlenose dolphins
18:00 Sei whale