A day with the whales
South Pacific Familyadventure 2008
Fri 4 Dec 2020 17:15
With enough light for filming or photography only between 10-13 you need to weigh anchor and pass between the piers of Skjervöy port at the latest 08.30 (weather permitting)
Waking up at 06.30,fast shower,and breakfast while checking up recent shipping forecast on YR.NO you then study the AIS for latest information on where the herringtrawlers are fishing (the best indication for where the herring and subsequently the whales are located).
To sit on the flybridge dressed in layers of warm clothes with a warm cup of coffee heading for the whales with binoculars in your hand is a fantastic start of the day.
I have heard marinebiologists say that the humbackwhales are best at locating schools of herring but that the killerwhales recognise the signals from humpbacks detecting fish. I never found any written scientific evidence for this statement but nevertheless both humbacks and killerwhales are all together here in the fjords. This is a bit odd since killerwhales are known to hunt and kill the calfs of the humpbacks (there are some cruel naturefilms on the topic).
What is well known though in the marine science world is that humpbacks have been found to interfere,protect and save other marine mammals from being killed by orcas. A marinebiology team in Antarctica witnessed a seal surrounded by killerwhales floating on an icefloe. The icefloe was tipped by the orcas but just before killing the seal a humpback came from the depth dispelling the orcas and turning it´s belly towards the air surfacing with the seal protected on it !
The reason for this behaviour is unknown and mysterious since there´s no obvious gain for the humpback.
The ones on the pictures were around Dora Mac for 10-15 minutes sometimes so close it made us concerned not to hurt them with the boat. They seemed to have full control on us though. Unfortunately none of us had diving suits on since Norway is one of few countries allowing swimming and diving with the whales.