Feb 14th to Feb 21 2009 on the Silver Bank 80 miles offshore Dominican Republic Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

The second week couldn't have been more of a contrast with the previous week. The skies were clear and the water flat calm with no wind. Unfortunately, underwater, the visibility wasn' the best, but here are some above the water photos from that week.

 

   

  

When a squall came through the humpbacks suddenly started breaching and lobtailing. The rain came down so hard sometimes we didn't see the breach coming!

 

Even the calves were breaching and lobtailing with their mothers...

 

  

      

 

The most interesting insights into the whales' lives were based on underwater observations. Trying to study whales from the surface is akin to studying elephants by examining the tips of their trunks when they come to a waterhole to drink. Being in the water with the whales provides a window into their lives that is impossible from surface observations. The underwater high definition video is uploaded onto the computer and I've taken some still frames out of the video and compresses them, and added the photos in the next entry.

And for those who think the 'green flash' is a fairy tale, we had green flashes three evenings in succession and I was able to photograph the green flash just as the sun sank below the horizon. Here is the 'green flash' without any alteration apart from zooming in.

The reason for a green flash lies in refraction of light (as in a prism) in the atmosphere: light moves more slowly in the lower, denser air than in the thinner air above, so sunlight rays follow paths that curve slightly, in the same direction as the curvature of the earth. Higher frequency light (green/blue) curves more than lower frequency light (red/orange), so green/blue rays from the upper edge of the setting sun remain visible after the red rays are obstructed by the curvature of the earth.