Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Humpback Whale Season 2009 Begins!

Our first week of expedition 093 has been a somewhat wet and wild one for our marine research team, but Friday brought immense rewards... Jessica fills us in:

"Wow. What a day! Today was our third day on the water. We´ve had unexpectedly bad weather (including the now locally infamous 'black rain' which hurled itself upon us on Tuesday) and have this week so far been restricted to surveying the channel between Shimoni and Wasini Island. This in itself has gently eased us in to GVI's Marine Research Programme, with a few sunny spells, and glimpses of a Green Turtle or Bottlenose Dolphin here or there, but today was the perfect end to the week.

I was lucky enough to be Survey Leader and conscious of the team's need to keep persevering amidst the less-than-favourable conditions; the cloud was coming in, but we were packed up, boarding Squirrel and all feeling that against the odds, we were going to see something. In good spirits, the Friday feeling was taking over and with a few songs and some good food, we were charged and organised to get down to it.

After abandoning a proposed route to Funzi Bay, we retraced our route from yesterday and headed back down the channel to carry out a turtle snorkel transect. A couple of other boats had paused just outside Mkwiro, then out of nowhere, our astute captain Shafii erupted with a rush of smile and “Humpback Whaaaaale”.

Several of us, dumbstruck, were pointing, trying to work out if our heads were actually processing what our eyes were seeing. Then the squeals came. This creature that we had learnt in the classroom to recognise, learnt to identify in terms of its size, morphology… was there. Not on a computer screen, not on a page, not in text. There. Nothing prepared us for the very real experience of a pair of humpback whales, just 40ft in front of us, surfacing and blowing, smooth, graceful and huge. They stayed around a while and seemed indifferent to the attention. We manoeuvred a little, they did the same, and we saw her surface, blow and dive a good four times before they made their exit and headed off to open sea.

And that was that; GVI´s first Humpack Whale sighting for 2009. Hopefully the first of many."


Jessypa said...

Wowee - wish I was there. Take care littlun!

Jess Marine-Boom-Boom said...

Thanks Dad!!!! : )