It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Porpoises, and Molas, and Whales! Oh, my!

We went out on the Rubber Ducky last Sunday and this Sunday, for some whale watching.  We had rather different conditions across the two weekends, but saw a lot of the same critters, so I thought I'd post all of the videos and photos in one post.

Last weekend, the conditions were a bit rough, with whitecaps pretty much the whole afternoon.  For the first hour or so, the whales were pretty elusive, but while we were meandering about, trying to decide where to go to find whales, a big mola swam right up to the boat.  He hung out with us for a while, and eventually I got the idea to try to video him with my GoPro, by hanging off the side of the boat with the camera underwater :)  I didn't have a selfie stick or anything like that to extend the camera under the water, just my arm!  But the mola seemed pretty content to hang out by the boat even while I hung over the side of the boat.

Later we found a pod of Dall's porpoises, who were zooming around the side of the boat and eventually started riding in our bow wake.  So I tried the same thing to video them.  The only problem with video'ing bow-riding porpoises while hanging over the side of the boat is that you have to hang over the side of the boat while it is underway.  My arms definitely got a good workout while one was hanging onto a rope on the boat to keep me in the boat, and the other was holding onto my GoPro trying not to lose it into the depths.

A bit later, we finally found a cooperative whale to take pictures of.  An insanely cooperative whale, actually.  We followed along beside a young humpback who was breaching every few minutes for about 2 hours.  We hung out with him the whole time.  There were a few whale watching boats around part of the time, but eventually they got tired of it (or had to take their passengers back into the dock) and we had him all to ourselves, which was good from a photography standpoint.  He would breach several times, dive for a couple minutes, and then he'd be back, breaching again.  Eventually he started to slow down, and was breaching only like every 5 minutes.  The entire time he was heading in the same direction, to the northwest, right into the wind.  So it was a bit of a bumpy ride to track alongside of him, and of course I was stuck driving, since Rob and Clinton were both taking pictures.  But they got some great shots, so it was definitely worth a couple of hours banging around in a boat.

This weekend, we came back and had much the same experience with a big mola and bow-riding porpoises, though this time the water was dead calm.  It was the perfect day for hanging off the side of the boat with a GoPro!  I also had a much better idea of how to get the shot from that position, having reviewed my video from the previous week.  So we played around with that for a while, and then looked for whales.  Unfortunately the whales were not quite as cooperative today.  There were some nice flukes, but not much in the way of breaching.

The best photo-op of the day was a sea lion that popped up right in front of the boat and snagged a fish right in front of us.  Poor fish, but neat to watch!  The video for today is at the top of this post.  There was another video from last weekend, which isn't nearly as good as this weekend's.

Also, I have to mention the baby sea gull in the parking lot.  Last week, we noticed a sea gull's nest in the parking lot of the boat launch with a fuzzy baby nearby, and this week Rob actually took some pictures (hard to convince himself to shoot pictures of a sea gull :P).  I can't believe I'm posting a picture of a sea gull here, but I just love the shot of the baby stretching his wings.  Even sea gulls are cute when they are babies!

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