An Amazing Whale Tale...   

The Solmar V has a great whale tale to share with you this month.

Several years ago, well known photographer Carlos Villoch was a guest on the Solmar during Whale Season (Mid Jan. - Apr.) and had some fantastic topside encounters with the humpbacks. He also had some great encounters underwater, and was kind enough to send us this shot... 

He commented that both cow and calf (probably a late birth newborn from that same year) were completely unafraid.

It was a pretty amazing shot, and while underwater encounters with humpback whales are now common, these cow/calf experiences in clear blue water are simply awesome.

But, a few years later, things got very, very interesting, and will test your ability to identify Humpback Whales....

Veteran pro photographer Eric Hanauer sent us another amazing shot of a cow and calf.  At first, we simply "oohed" and "ahhed" at the calf nestling the mother, and it was actually some time before someone noticed that the markings on the right pectoral fin and chin of the Cow were the same as Carlos' pic. Given the high number of whales that migrate to Socorro from North Pacific and Canadian waters each year - an amazing coincidence to photograph the same Whale...

But this year, 2011, u/w photo pro Bonnie Pelnar was running her annual photo workshop on the boat (a few spaces still open for 2012) during Whale Season, and reported some "once in a lifetime" encounters as well. Bonnie was kind enough to share a few images with us, and we were stunned to see indentical markings on this cow as well.

Is it the same whale "mom"?  What do you think?

We feel, emphatically, YES, it's the same humpback cow with a different calf each time. But given the very random nature of whale encounters - why does this particular whale like photographers from the Solmar V?

Of course, all kinds of theories abound, but the best rationale for the behavior came from one of the marine biologists who have studied this population for years. He noted that since the Solmar V had been visiting the Socorro Islands every year since 1993 - many of these returning whales have come to accept the boat as a non-threatening entity. For us, this means some up close and personal encounters!

Even more astounding, whales 19 years of age and under have never made their annual trek to Socorro (from Alaskan/Canadian waters) without seeing and hearing the unique visual and acoustic "footprint" of the Solmar V.

Now that, my friends, is truly a great whale's tale, and here are some special opportunities to join us during the 2012 Whale Season. 

This article is from the Solmar V eNEWS Article Archive

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