Is it a whale of a tale or was it the tail of a whale? This morning we did indeed see two whales, and their tails! I was woken from my sleep at 0830 (first unsuccessfully by a phone call, and then successfully by a knock on my door) for another wildlife sighting. I quickly came upstairs and went out onto the main deck to see all of the science party lined up on the starboard side of the ship watching two whales, only 20 meters away.
The two humpbacks circled our boat for about half an hour, while we traveled starboard to port, port to starboard watching them. Humpbacks are known for their long, wing-like flippers, and it was these flippers that made it easy to spot the whales after they did a shallow dive. Because the flippers were white, they glowed a bright turquoise color under the water.
I’ve been on many whale watches, but seeing these two whales this morning here in the Southern Ocean felt like a completely different experience. Because we weren’t expecting them, and because we’re so seemingly alone in the open ocean, it was particularly striking to have these two beautiful mammals choose to swim right next to us today. I didn’t have time to grab my camera to capture the moment, but luckily many other people did, and Whitney even got great video footage so you too can experience this whale of a tale!