2015-02-24 Another day in the life of a whale researcher Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   
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Two of the fluke IDs from today (16 OF-DC). Once again it was not easy finding these whales and it was all the more difficult with the large ocean swells. Half the time we were in a trough with fifty foot of visibility and at other times we could see the whales but then a swell would come in between us as in the photo above. We just managed to get this whale before the wave blocked out view. 

The fluke ID above left has been identified by Allied Whale as their na1162. This whale has only been seen once before, in 1978 near the mouth of Trinity Bay by Hal Whitehead. We have a number of whales in our Bermuda catalogue, including Candle, that have been identified by Professor Hal Whitehead in 1978 or even earlier, and never seen since until they were re-identified by us again here in Bermuda.

 

Take a look at the backs of the two whales below:

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The back looks relatively healthy above compared to the image below:

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You can see the ribs and the evidence of a rope entanglement witht the lines across the ridge of the back, the indentation at the base of the fluke and the horizontal lines along the top of the ribs. At first we thought it might have been a mother and calf but when we saw the distinct patterns on the fluke we realized it wasn't a calf but rather an emaciated whale

 

At two, on Challenger Bank, we returned to base early enough that I picked up the kids from school at 3.30 and dropped Elsa off for her one-and-a-half hours swim training session and then drove Somers to St Davids for her one-and-a-half-hour gymnastics training.

 

Um, but I did miss Elsa getting an award at school assembly this morning. I explained it was too nice weather and couldn't miss going out. I was forgiven and fortunately Chris Gibbons sent me this photo which I received out on Challenger Bank

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