Thursday, 25 June 2015

Whales!

Last night we were joined by a family group of pilot whales just as we were finishing dinner and preparing ourselves for our first night of seafloor sampling. Incidentally, running up and down two flights of stairs to get your camera after eating a large amount of lasagne and banana bread (separately, not at once!) is not an entirely pleasant experience!

A large pod of pilot whales popped by the ship yesterday.

Pilot whales in the waves

Pilot whales are funny beasts. They have a very lazy way of rolling through the water, which makes them a bit difficult to take interesting photographs of because they don't do much other than breathe and pootle about. The calves tend to be a lot more active and tend to leap around a bit more which is VERY cute to see if you can find a family group! 

Photobombing whale

Family of pilot whales

This pod had a couple of calves with them that still had visible foetal bands, meaning they must have been pretty new! We got really lucky with this group, and they stayed near the ship for about two hours. Most of the photos I took were of small black fins in the distance (as is typical of photographing whales and dolphins), but they did briefly come right up close to us and I got a few photos that were a bit more reasonable!


This pilot whale calf was so young the foetal bands were still visible on its flanks.

We've also been seeing a few shearwaters over the past couple of days. I'm not completely sure what species of they are, but I suspect they're Cory's shearwaters, though that's based mostly on the fact that I've seen them out here before and these ones look a bit similar. If anyone with a better internet connection than me can check and let me know it'd be much appreciated!

I think this is a Cory's Shearwater... Is that right?

Anyway, we've been put on night duty for our mud-coring work so I'm going to try and grab a couple of hours of sleep before dinner. See you next time!