Hello and welcome to the first Cruise Report of our 2018 humpback whale season, Conscious Breath Adventures’ tenth, and my sixteenth, on the Silver Bank! We’ll be sharing highlights and photos from each week we spend with the whales this spring, and hope you can share in our appreciation for these majestic animals.
As our guests came aboard on our first Saturday afternoon of the 2018 season we were excited to welcome them and keen to get going but the weather had other plans. An especially powerful weather system was impacting the area and forecasts called for two days with winds gusting over 30 knots and seas of up to fifteen feet! Conditions like that are nothing to play around with and the Comandante of the Port took the very unusual step of actually closing the port, refusing to grant the required dispatches to any vessel, including the Silver Bank operators, until conditions improved. Without official permission we could not leave even if we wanted to; given the conditions, we did not want to.
We filled the downtime with presentations, discussions and good food and the fleet was finally granted permission to depart so by Tuesday morning we were safely moored on the Silver Bank. Trying to make up a little lost time, guests and crew rallied and we headed out in our whale boats as quickly as possible.
Each of our custom whale boats, Pec & Fluke, quickly sighted numerous whales and Fluke, started tracking a mother and calf with her escort male. At one point early on in the track the mother lifted her tail fluke high giving a very good look at the unique markings on the underside that are useful for identification (above). I recognized this whale immediately! She has been featured in several previous Cruise Reports but is a bit of a mystery because, prior to sharing my photos, she had never been photographed and was not in any of the identification catalogs for the North Atlantic whales (she is now). She is not a ‘known’ whale like many in the catalogs and we still don’t know where she spends her summers feeding. But she is so photogenic that I’d used her image on my business card (below).