Humpback Synchronized Eating

After two fishing trips out on the Suzi Q (my parents’ troller) that could be described as mediocre at best (big, scary waves, bad weather, king salmon fishery closure…), we awoke at 4:00am and pulled anchor in hopes that a different area would yield better results. As we approached the fishing grounds, I prayed “God, please let us find fish today, and you know, it would be great to get some pretty epic whale pictures too.” As for fishing, we found some big cohos, and I am officially wiped out. As for whales, well, let’s just say the Lord was listening…

This family of about eight humpback whales moved into the fishing area and stayed there for the entire afternoon, then most of the next day as well. The whales in these pictures are repeatedly “bubble feeding.” It’s a technique they use to circle around a cluster of feed, scaring them into a tight mass, then the whales all surface together and consume their prey in what you might describe as epic, synchronized eating. I kept my camera close and kept an eye out for potential opportunities. These shots are all pin-sharp and available for sale if interested.

So how close did we get to the whales? Well, most of these shots are zoomed way in from a “safe” distance, but in one instance, we actually got “bumped.” The whales were moving all over the place. At one point, we saw them all dive beneath the surface headed in our direction. My mom (the skipper), was nervous and so she began to steer the boat out away from the group. All of a sudden there were bubbles all around us, and the whales surfaced about four feet from us – yes, four feet. We were both shouting and yelling and trying to turn the boat away. After all, these behemoths could easily knock us around, and very easily get caught up in our gear and do some serious damage. When they came to the surface, the humpbacks seemed to realize what they’d done and immediately scattered in all directions. I saw one swim under the boat, our lines got bumped a few times, but miraculously, nothing went wrong… We decided we didn’t want that to happen again. This picture was the best I could get.Whales_14

I’m feeling so blessed to be in this part of the country again. I’m unbelievably tired right now, but it has been great. If you’re interested in a whale print, I’d love to hook you up!

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