2009 February 7th-21st underwater images from the Silver Bank, Dominican Republic Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

Although the visibility was very poor this year, if the whales were close enough, visibility was excellent! You can access the video footage on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw7V9tBwHJY&feature=channel_page 

And below are some of the still frames taken from that high definition video. Each frame is 45-60mbs and there are 30 frames per second so you can imagine how much speed and computer storage space all the editing of the video foootage takes.

There were plenty of sleepers, mothers and calves, a couple of mothers with yearlings and escorts but no singers that we could find apart from the sleepers vocalizing together.

 

 

Some of the calves kept close to mother, but there were others who seemed to want to share their joy in life and came repeatedly towards us to dance around and display their awesome ability to do underwater ballet despite being only a week to two weeks old.

              

 

   

 

On the left a calf was below me under its mother and as it surfaced it opened its mouth wide, expanding its pleats, filling its mouth and throat full of water.

And who says you can't take fluke identification shots underwater?

The sleepers below are a pair of whales immobile underwater often head to head or close beside each other. They almost inevitably include one smaller one with lots of scars, the male, and a larger almost umarked female. To me they look and sound like a couple of whales that have either just mated or are about to mate. During our first week we were lucky enough to have a couple of pairs of sleepers within a hundred yards of our boat and we were able to dive down to them over a relatively long period of time (photo below at left). In my experience the sleepers tend to 'chirrup' to each other at a very low volume that is impossible to hear at the surface but is just audible (to my ears anyway) when I dive down to them. The photo on the right taken by Dan Henriksen  is irrefutable evidence of the male of a pair of sleepers that is obviously keen to mate. One can get an idea of sizes and proportions by keeping in mind that the fluke on the left of the whale is 12 feet across and the pectoral fin towards the right of the whale is about 15-16 feet long.

 

 

 

 

 
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