So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish HW18
When you're out in nature hoping that whales to show up and do something interesting, there is often a lot of waiting involved.
This day was no exception.
My friend Jon and I headed out early in the morning to scout the area where we had spent the night. Within short order, we found ourselves completely fogged in, unable to see but a few meters in any direction. Accustomed as we both are to having curveballs thrown our way (the forecast said sunny!), we settled into a safe area and waited.
When visibility picked up, so did our luck.
As we strained to see across the water, first Jon and then I each thought we saw something in the distance, but neither of us was quite sure. A puff of vapor harshly lit against a backdrop of mostly white horizon doesn't exactly make for ideal spotting conditions.
Turns out though, we were right.
As events unfolded over the next few hours, it became clear that we were witnessing something special. In short, we watched the break-up (from beginning to end) of a group of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae kuzira) that had been bubble-net feeding together for several days.
Appetites satiated for the moment, the whales had decided that it was time to move on. The whales punctuated their parting ceremonies with an extended show involving multiple breaches, some of them quite spectacular, along with multiple pectoral slaps.
As the individual whales gradually went their separate ways, their surface displays echoed one another in a concentric pattern of ever-increasing radius. A slap here was answered by another way over there, followed by a breach in another direction, and so on until the whales were far, far apart and their surface displays eventually ceased.
Breathtaking. All of it.
Fortunately, we were able to call our friends over in time, so that everyone was able to enjoy the show, and I was able to narrate play-by-play and blather on about what a mind-blowing privilege it was to witness such a demonstration of social interaction.
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PS: The title I chose for this print is a tribute to the genius of Douglas Adams