Any information, about the whales i wrote about , i learned from the book, ” WHALES,AND OTHER MARINE MAMMALS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA AND ALASKA. BY TAMARA EDER illustrated by IAN SHELDON
We headed to Cosmos Cove on July 14, it was raining hard in the morning, but it cleared up later on. On this small journey, from Pavlov Harbour to Cosmos Cove, is where a very special adventure began……
Everywhere you read the warnings, “do not go close to the whales, keep away several hundred feet, do not harass the whales” and on and on…… We had seen so many spouts, all well away from us, but we were not prepared for what happened on this day. Bert decided to do some fishing ,so i slowed the boat down to 2 knots, Curtsy has hydrolic propulsion so she can happily trawl along, at that speed, with the engine rpm at 1500. The sun came out , and we were totally enjoying ourselves. Then, close by, several whales surfaced, Humpback whales, it looked like a family pod, and they were busy!!! And then my heart jumped; they were bubble feeding!!!!!! I Ran for the camera after putting Curtsy on automatic pilot, grabbed the lenses, filters, just all my stuff to make some super photos!! When the whales bubble feed, they all dive deep, all at the same time, and there is nothing, total quiet…… The tension is overwhelming, because WHERE are they going to come up???? Well, yes!!! right in front of us!!!! Here is Bert, trying to fish, here are all these whales, i turned the boat around, slowly, and went towards the whales, still doing 2 knots. The water churned , huge heads came up, mouths wide open, by this time i counted 7 whales, i could clearly see the baleen, they were pushing the water through, while the food, small fish, plankton,krill, stayed behind in their mouths. Baleen plates are made up of a keratinous material, similar to nails and hair, the plates grow down from the gum of the upper jaw, and they hang down, next to each other, kind of like curtains or blinds. When they bubble feed, or lunge feed, they ,upon surfacing, take in tons of food-rich water, they then close their mouths , but not completely, just enough for the baleen to touch the lower jaw. They then press the sea water out. With the bubble feeding, the whales create a “curtain”, which disorients the fish and krill. They take in tons of food at a time, and that is why they are here in the North after all, to become very strong and well fed for their journey South in the fall.
The baleen whales are the largest of the cetaceans , and the largest are the females, funny ,as these huge animals feed on the smallest creatures in the ocean!!! Baleen whales have paired blowholes, which means, two of the them, side by side, the toothed whales have one.