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A Playful Minke Joins the Pod

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Whale Watching | Mammals

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kera

A few weeks back we switched from Blue Whale Cruises to Dolphin and Sea Life Cruises and full of dolphins it has been! This is a time where we’re waiting for the gray whales to get here after the blues have left for the season. Although gray whales are still a few weeks out, there is still lots to see out there, including playful minke whales.

Just last week we came across a very large pod of common dolphins all swimming very closely together. They were moving very fast and had a mission in mind. After spotting the dolphins, we started moving in their direction and I saw a whale’s back at the surface. Because I didn’t see the whale’s blow, I figured it had to be a minke whale, which is the smallest of the baleen whales. I didn’t know if I’d see it again because minke whales are known to show once and disappear. Lucky for us, he did more than just surface once!

I told everyone that the minke had surfaced and to scan around because it would likely surface somewhere else. We also call minke whales the “ninja whales” because they’re here and then gone! When this whale came up, it was right behind the pod of dolphins.

The minke seemed to be keeping close with the dolphins. It was like it was actually following the dolphins! When the dolphins would move right, the minke whale would follow. When they went left, so did the minke. After surfacing about 7 times, it finally went down and didn’t surface near us again, but how funny to see a whale like that almost playing with the dolphins.

Besides watching a playful minke, the large pod of dolphins was a sight of its own. I think one of my favorite parts of coming up on a large pod of dolphins is as you slow down to move around the pod, you can hear the water splashing as they break the surface. It’s like that calm, relaxing, sound of waves breaking that they sell on CD’s, only this is the real thing created by these incredible dolphins!

If you’re interested in joining us, we’ve been seeing more dolphins the last few weeks than in the last few months! We’ve had bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins! The weather has been pretty awesome too!

A Playful Minke Joins the Pod
The left side view of a minke whale  | Kera Mathes
A Playful Minke Joins the Pod
One of the common dolphins surfacing next to the boat.  | Kera Mathes

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