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These video clips are from the 2003 whale watch season. The files may be used only with permission. (NOTE: The files are large and are not recommended for users of dialup modems.) If you are a cable, satellite, or DSL customer; these videos can help you to more fully experience humpbacks. Sometimes whales are best conveyed using pictures instead of words. The Next2Boat files were filmed in early April 2003. I have seen on a number of occasions that one of the best ways to see these animals close up is to work with their natural inquisitiveness. You find some whales in the area and then shut down the engines and drift. With patience the whales may come do some people watching. Instead of a large noisy motor craft, you are now a large floating curiosity.
(7.91 MB - 27 sec)
This ‘at a distance’ footage was taken near Kaiwi Point in early March 2003. This appears to be a group of males pursuing a female. Several things stand out in the footage.
1. Toothed whales have a single nostril while baleen whales like the humpback have two nostrils. This creates the distinct V-shaped blow that is typical of this species.
2. The arching of the back that you see before the tail lift dive helps give the animal its common name of humpback whale.
3. The footage also shows a head lift. During these mixers males in the lead will often lift their heads out of the water and sometimes inflate the mouth. The head lift clearly shows the two nares or blowholes of a baleen whale. The head lift also shows the golf ball sized tubercles on the whales face. The whales are mammals and have small hairs on these tubercles.
(2.16 MB - 7 sec)
This footage shows a smaller male on the edge of a mixer group doing a weak head lift and a robust tail up dive.
(3.41 MB - 11 sec)
The files in the Next2Boat series that are designated with an “s” contain background noise from onboard the whale watch vessel.
This is a short clip of a smaller whale that approached and circled the boat several times. The clip shows a typical slow surfacing with a shallow sliding dive. The whale did not lift its tail as it was staying just under the surface and moving very slowly.
(7.51 MB – 24 sec)
(8.52 MB – 24 sec)
This clip shows the small humpback exhaling and sliding slowly beneath the surface, then being cut off from approaching the boat more closely by a larger whale that seems to be acting with a bit of aggression. I love the way this larger whale uses the left pectoral fin to stop and turn when it surfaces. Also notice the clearly visible caudal vertebrae as this whale dives. By the end of the season some of these whales have lost a large amount of body weight.
(6.18 MB – 17 sec)
This clip is the same pair continuing their interactions. After the initial rushed appearance, the larger whale settled down and synchronized its movements with the smaller animal as they continued passing under and circling around the boat. Both animals barely lift their tail flukes as they submerge facing away from the boat.
(4.93 MB – 13 sec)
This is the same pair coming to the surface in front of the boat. Neither whale lifts its tail as they continue circling while checking out the boat and each other.
(4.26 MB – 13 sec)
(4.84 MB – 13 sec)
The pair finally leaves and swims away showing us a tail up dive.