Today my boss surprised me with a last minute request to go on a whale watch with a group of youth during my prep time. Of course I said yes. I’d been a little sad that everything going on didn’t allow me to plan for this afternoon’s whale watch, or tomorrow afternoon.
Now I’d been watching the whales and the boats, and figuring out where they’re seeing different whales, and I knew that the only boats seeing the minke whales were the morning boats. That made me sad, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get on a morning boat unless I came on a day I wasn’t working and paid for a ticket. I really, REALLY wanted to see a minke.
Now the boat I was on was only rated to go out three miles, so during my onboard presentation I explained to the kids that it was very unlikely to see a whale that close in at this time of year, and that we might see some dolphin.
Well, we got out a little ways and there were birds in clumps all over the ocean about 3 miles out: a sign that there’s plenty of food. I was telling the kids that the dolphin just hadn’t found it yet, and that this was the food that not only the birds and dolphin eat, but the bigger whales as well.
And while I was explaining that, the minke surfaced.
Now I’d told the captain earlier that there were stationary whale watching boats out by some of the birds, and he thought they might just be talking about the “bait ball” of krill or little fish that was obviously under that area.
I’m glad to see I haven’t lost my touch, because, yes, they were on this minke.
Now there’s a sad footnote to this story, and it’s that because I hadn’t planned on doing any whale watching today, I left my camera at home, for the first time in months. No photos of the minke to add to my whale photo collection.