Monday, February 14, 2005

1987 Second Meeting with Talon 8/10/87 #1

The twenty miles from Kennebunkport out to Jeffrey's ledge was always a long trip, especially on a day like this when there was a big ocean swell leftover from weather the previous day. People were full of anticipation and that helped to distract them from any queasiness they may be feeling but other distractions were always welcome. It was unusual to find baleen whales when we traveled across the "basin" because they needed large clumps of krill, copepods, sandlaunce, herring... the tiny critters that were most usually found on the ledge itself. But it was the height of summer and the ocean was in "full bloom". We had been seeing patches sandlance near the surface and on the feed finding sonar all the way across the basin so it wasn't that surprising to encounter a Minke whale a couple of miles west of "the fingers" (click on the map for a larger labeled version).
Jeffrey's ledge; Gulf of Maine

Just as soon as we came on "the fingers", things got very busy and people started feeling fine, all sea-sickness forgotten! Right away we saw blows. They were the short bushy blows of a humpback, as opposed to the finback's blow which is tall and straight like smoke coming out of a chimney. When we got closer we saw this strange sight, some people were convinced it was a huge shark swimming at the surface of the water!
1987 8-10 Talon's calf30

But we soon saw Talon and figured out it was her calf, lieing on its side with one fluke sticking out and its flipper waving in the air. We hadn't seen her since the wonderful encounter on June 20th. Once again the calf was the interactive one while Talon hovered in the background.... quite some change from her calfhood when she was the clowning center of attention. She seemed to be taking her mothering role very seriously.

87 8-10 Taloncalf01
Originally uploaded by yeimaya.
The calf was at the surface a lot, rolling around alone at first, then traveling with her mom slowly but methodically towards the north. When the other whale watch boat came up to join us, Talon and the calf just dove underneath, without "breaking their stride" and kept right on going.

We moved off to insure they weren't overwhelmed, heading north ourselves since we saw the blows of a finback and more humpbacks in that direction.

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