Category: humpback whale

One of the most exciting aspects of this season was the discovery of humpback whale calves in Kachemak Bay. No humpback calves were seen in 2017 or 2018, so to find two separate calves in 2019 was quite special. 

Pictured above is one of those calves: Y221 Krakatoa. Krakatoa’s mother is Y170 Pompeii, who was named after the distinct scalloping on the edge of her flukes that are reminiscent of volcanic peaks. Krakatoa was given her name to keep on theme with her mother’s name. And yes, it is a ‘she!’ During one of our encounters, Krakatoa started to inverse tail lob and exposed the area around her genital slit and I was able to capture a photo that shows the presence of a hemispherical lobe. The hemispherical lobe is a round, grapefruit sized mass located between the genital slit and anus of female humpbacks. Its function is currently not known but it is a helpful tool when attempting to determine the sex of individual humpbacks (which is actually quite difficult!). 

Hello! I am still here! Apologies for the long absence–I’ve been very busy and simply haven’t had the time to update this account.

Our season wrapped up in early September. It was an interesting summer. Alaska was hit with an unprecedented heat wave, with temperatures regularly reaching 70-80 degrees F over the course of July. We also had terrible wildfires that made the air quality quite horrible. There were several days where it was nearly impossible to be outside without inhaling smoke. Climate change certainly made its presence felt this year. 

It was also a fairly odd year for whale sightings. Our main sightings for the last two summers have been resident killer whales, though we only encountered them three times from May to early September. AP pod did not show up at all (however, I do have at least one confirmed sighting of them on the outskirts of the bay in July). Instead, Gulf of Alaska transients made up the bulk of our killer whale sightings. They were present all summer long inside Kachemak Bay and were recorded hunting seals and harbor porpoises. The humpback whales also had bizarre timing this year. We saw a few lone individuals in June and early July but they were always leaving the bay when we encountered them and did not stay more than a few hours at most. In July, we went 27 days without encountering a single whale of any species, the longest stretch in the four years I’ve worked this job. But when August rolled around, it was like a switch flipped! Humpbacks began showing up in the bay and stayed for over two months, consistently feeding in key areas of the bay. They even showed up in numbers higher than in the last two years. All in all, a strange year. 

I’ll share some more photos from key encounters a little later, but these are some highlights from this summer. 

thelovelyseas:

CBParker_D3_20090906_Tonga-217-Edit-Edit-Edit-600 by cbpphoto on Flickr.

thelovelyseas:

CBParker_D3_20090906_Tonga-217-Edit-Edit-Edit-600 by cbpphoto on Flickr.

bitch-dont-krill-my-vibe:

Humpback Whale females can reach up to 16 m, and weigh up to 30,000 kg!
The figure shows a size comparison of a 14 m long whale, and a 2 m tall human!

bitch-dont-krill-my-vibe:

Humpback Whale females can reach up to 16 m, and weigh up to 30,000 kg!
The figure shows a size comparison of a 14 m long whale, and a 2 m tall human!

kohola-kai:

Humpback whales glide through crystal clear waters of Moorea, French Polynesia

Photo by Moorea Ocean Adventures

kohola-kai:

Humpback whales glide through crystal clear waters of Moorea, French Polynesia

Photo by Moorea Ocean Adventures

lsleofskye:


na pali dreaming | saimonro

Location:
Nā Pali Coast State Park, Kauai Island, Hawaii

lsleofskye:


na pali dreaming | saimonro

Location:
Nā Pali Coast State Park, Kauai Island, Hawaii