Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Finback Whale Fluking Out!


Finback whale exhaling at the surface.
 On July 2, we saw something that most people don't see in their lifetime. We saw a finback whale lift its tail or fluke out of the water. I know it may not sound that exciting, but if you knew how rare this behavior is, then you would understand.

Here is the sequence of photos I took of this behavior as we watched this pair.










I was the naturalist aboard the Tails of the Sea, a commercial whale watching vessel owned and operated by Capt. John Boats. As we watched a pair of finback whales off the south side of Stellwagen Bank, we were astonished to see that one of the whales lifted its flukes out of the water as it dove deep. When diving, a finback whale typically arches it back and sinks beneath the water's surface. This is called a non-fluke dive. It is very rare to see a finback lift its tail high above the water. Rare or not, this whale broke all the rules!

Here is a sequence of photos from this same sighting showing the more typical non-fluke dive.










We love whale watching and any type of wildlife view for you just never know what you will see offshore. I have been working offshore for over 34 years and I have only seen a few finbacks fluke out when diving. So this really was a treat and a very special event for all onboard.