Monday, February 21, 2005

1987 Second sighting of Talon 8/10/87 #2

We left Talon and her calf behind as we moved north towards the other humpbacks, but watching off our stern, I could see that they were coming along slowly behind us. When we arrived we found a fascinating congregation of four whales. First there was Tusk and Beltane who were close together breathing and diving in sync. Both whales were young adults (the same generation as Talon).

Tusk was male and had been see as a calf with his mother Equus in 1979 making him an eight year old that year. He seemed to think of himself anyway as a fully mature male, even though eight seemed young to take on the older males.
86 7-1 Tusk01


Beltane was a female who had been born in 1980, she had had a calf in 1985 (young for a whale). Twice, Tusk broke away from Beltane and dove under our boat from bow to stern. It was hard to determines what he was doing but it seemed like he was asserting territory at the very least.... we stood back at a respectable distance.

[Beltane's fluke shot coming soon]

It is not clear why Tusk and Beltane were together. North Atlantic Humpbacks are thought to mate in the Caribbean, that is where males sing their beautiful songs. Were these two engaged in some sort of foreplay?

Another very interesting association came to ligt when I got home, sorted out all the fluke shots and called Allied Whale to get background information about the whales we saw that day. A very distinctive whale (it was missing a good part of its left fluke), hanging out nearby in the company of a forth whale (who never fluked) turned out to be Silver, Beltane's mother!
1987 10/1 Silver

These pictures were taken of Silver on 10/1/87 the last trip of the season when she was most likely headed south for the winter. She was obviously full of vigor, even seemed to be enjoying the turmoluous seas.... a whole lot more than some people on the boat.
1987 10-1 Silver29a

And here she is slipping under the surface of the water where it was much calmer.
1987 10-1 Silver31

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