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

General Observations the 2009 Whale ID Season

My arrival in El Cardonal for this season was different than before in that this time I was here to stay. I have retired on my property in Mexico and the Airstream Trailer is now my permanent and only home.

As soon as I arrived I heard from various folks in town that the Humpbacks were already showing up and quite active. I spotted my first HB from shore on Jan.7th and went out for the first time on the 21st of Jan. but saw no whales.

Things soon changed when on the 27th we went out and encountered 8 maybe 11 HBs but got only a few good shots. The group of 5-8 that we saw were very active with all the signs of young males in a “competitive” group. There was a female with calf nearby so this could have been their excitement.

Feb. 7th was another really good day with 6 encounters and maybe 4 good IDs. The season was already looking good. My two interns arrived and it looked like things were going to get a whole lot more interesting. They are two delightful young women (Elizabeth Plumb & Jessica Pletz), both graduates in Environmental Science, one from Univ. of the Natal in South Africa and the other from The Univ. of Iowa. They had met in Africa some years before and were renewing their friendship while interning with me. They stayed with me for a month and we had lots of adventures together.

We encountered our first Blue Whale on Feb. 23rd. Elizabeth was to dive with one a few days later and got within eyeball range. Needless to say she was “blown away”.

Mar. 6th was an exciting and special day. The male HB “Odin” (adopted and named by my son Zack) showed up as our first ever “returnee”. That is a whale that is seen during two different seasons. This is rare here on The East Cape.

On April 8th I dove with a mother and calf off Las Tinas and got eyeball to eyeball with the calf. Very cool but the calf was unfortunately in bad shape from previous entanglement and infection. I felt a plea for help but there was nothing I could do.

Odin showed up later in April with a girlfriend and had to fight off another male for courting privileges. He was successful but not without a bit of blood letting.

On April 16th I made a Whale Dive with Blue Whale #6. Closest I’ve ever been, truly delightful and damned awesome. The last whale of the year was a HB on the 23rd of April, my daughter’s birthday, so it was named KK (Kersti Kaldveer/Evans).

At the end of the 2007 season I said it was the best ever, well 2009 is now the standard. I turned in my data to Jorge as usual and he was very appreciative of my work. He said that because of my work the “protected” area for HBs on the East Cape may extend to Isla Cerralvo instead of stopping at Cabo Pulmo. If this is the case I will be overjoyed! My whales will be protected!

Urmas Kaldveer
El Cardonal, East Cape, BCS, MX


Photo ID collections

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