Friday, July 13, 2018
Experience Of A Lifetime
I just returned today from an 8-day chartered yacht trip in Alaska's Inside Passage. What a trip it was! This is the second year I have done this trip with a group of photographers, and it just keeps getting better and better.
We were lucky and found a group of humpback whales engaging in bubble net feeding behavior. This was something I had always wanted to witness, so this was a real thrill.
We watched and photographed this action for over 2 hours. The whales would locate a large school of herring, and then form a group underwater to corral the fish into a small circular "net" created by bubbles that the whales would blow. Once the fish were trapped in the net of bubbles, the whales would lunge upward out of the water as a group and devour large amounts of herring in each gulp.
We had hydrophones and could hear the whale calls underwater, and our guide identified the distinctive high pitched sound made right before the group would lunge upward to gulp the fish in large numbers.
Circling seagulls overhead helped us pinpoint the approximate location of each lunge.
Scientists believe that this behavior indicates a high level of intelligence, and sophisticated communication among groups of whales. It certainly was awe-inspiring and very exciting to witness and to photograph.
1/800 sec. at f/9, ISO 800. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "It is often said that play is the greatest expression of intelligence, and whales and dolphins are among the most playful in the animal kingdom." -- U.S Whales.com