Summary of my current research activities on whales and their habitats...

Humpbacks Sightings and Data, 2007

Urmas Kaldveer
Jan-Apr 2007


Upon my arrival in El Cardonal in Jan. of this year I began observations from shore beginning on Jan. 5th. I did not see any whales until the 27th of that month. My viewing area is approximately 12 sq miles, perhaps somewhat greater on a really clear day. My first trip out to the “whale zone” on Jan. 30th (an area where I have consistently made the most observations during the past 4 years) was unproductive.

On the 31stof Jan. I ID’d my first Humpback of the season. During February I was able to ID six more Humpbacks but was held up by bad weather a good part of the time.

March was again my best month as in previous years with 25 ID’s. Over the past 4 years the middle and end of March seem to be optimum times for observations. During a days search I generally cover 50-75 sq miles.

April resulted in only one more Humpback ID but I was able to obtain 3 Blue Whale ID’s and 4 Sperm Whale ID’s. Due to a wrenched back I was unable to go out often during April and I am certain that there were still a number of Humpbacks in the area. I saw fewer Blue Whales in close (2-6 miles) this year and no Bryde’s Whales until May and then only 4. Last year the Blues were in very close and there were a large number of Bryde’s Whales also observed within 2 miles of the shore.

I saw no more whales during may but again that was at least partially due to weather conditions and the fact that my “pangero” wrenched his back. My other fisherman friends had seen 4-6 Humpbacks since the 1st of May and 4 Blues.

As in years previous I observed females with very young calves, competitive groups of males and a number of one on one combat between males. During the latter part of the season I have seen a number of females with a calf and a primary escort (?) leaving the area. I am as convinced as ever that the area (between Punta Pescadero and Boca del Alamo) is an important breeding and calving area and should be declared a Marine Sanctuary during the breeding/calving season.

I intend to keep up this study for another 2 years and hope to provide additional data that can be used to realize the desire on all our parts to understand and protect these delightful creatures. I left Mexico in the first week in June and will return again in Jan. of 2008.

2007 Whale Season
  • Jan. 26th, whale from shore, not me
  • Jan. 27th, whale from shore
  • Jan. 28th, whale from kayak
  • Jan. 31st, 2 whales, 1 ID, surface action intense
  • Feb. 6th, no whales w/ Vicente
  • Feb. 7th, 3 (4?) whales, 1-2 ID’s, 1 calf
  • Feb. 8th, no whales from boat
  • Feb. 10th, 1 whale from shore, activo
  • Feb. 11th, 3 whales, 3 ID’s, 1 warn off
  • Feb. 13th, no whales from 2 mile kayak
  • Feb. 20th, no whales from boat (short run, wind)
  • Feb. 25th, mom/calf (mom ID) from Talofa acerca Palmilla
  • Feb. 28th, no whales from boat
  • Mar. 6th, no whales from boat
  • Mar. 7th, no whales from boat, report of Blues (Frailes)
  • 2 HB’s reported off Punta Pescadero ca 11:30
  • Mar. 8th, no whales from boat, mother/calf sighted by
  • Antonio (La Linea), we could not find, lots of scat
  • Mar. 9th, no whales from boat, Blue sighted by fisherman, 12 mi out, we (Martin, bother of Antonio) could not find             
  • Mar. 10th, Blue Whale from shore, 5:00 pm, ¼ mi, with Calf, going south
  • Mar. 13th, 6 HB’s (3,2 and 1), whale zone, 4 good ID’s
  • Mar. 14th, 1 HB, good ID, Cardonal
  • Mar. 15th, HB from shore, 7:00 am, south, HB from shore Just north of Barriles, 1:30pm
  • Mar. 16th, 9 HB’s, 9 ID’s, HOT DOG!!, 2 more from shore. In afternoon, competitive group of 5m-1f
  • Mar. 17th, 2 HB’s, 2 ID’s, Punta Pescadero, close dive 30’
  • Mar. 18th, 2 HB’s from shore, going south, 8:30 am
  • Mar. 20th, 8 Hb’s from kayak, all going south, after 2:00,
  • ½ mi, 3 (perhaps 2 calves), 2, 1, 2 (close encounter with mom and calf…15’)
  • Mar. 21st, 3 HB’s, 3 ID’s (2 good ones), moving south, 1 Random
  • Mar. 25th, no whales from boat, water colder?
  • Mar. 26th, 2 HB’s, 1 ID, long chase, refusal to fluke till we moved to side, random direction on both,  “Konner” first whale
  • Mar. 28th, 3 HB’s, 2 ID’s, 2 mother/calf pairs, 1 very energetic male HB 33, perhaps 2 other males  in vicinity….all breaching, wind prevents
  • April 3rd,  1 Blue, 10 mi, PP, Lauren’s whale
  • April 4th,  2 Blues, 1 HB ID’d (“the orphan”), saw another  Blue
  • April 6th,  4 Sperm whales 13 mi east of PP, lost the chance of a lifetime, but ID’d? Send to Nadia.
  • April 12th, No whales from boat 
  • May-June, No whales, partially due to lack of boat time                                      

     Also, refer to a more extensive record of sightings for multiple years.

Richard Rosier reports again on the progress of this effort in the Daily Journal (Friday, June 17, 2007)

Published originally in the Ukiah Daily Journal; reprinted with permission.

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