2009 Whale Season Record Jan. 4th, arrived today to hear from Tristan and John that they have seen whales spouting, breaching, spy hopping in the area for the last few days. Couldn’t identify from shore but suspected HBs. Jan. 5th, talked to Jeff Teasdale today, he said he saw some Orcas around the reef at the end of the year. Jan. 6th, talked to Cara (Italian) and Zsusa (Hungarian) who have been here for a week or two and they say they have seen whales breaching nearby. They saw 2 maybe 4 but they are definitely here. No positive ID on them being Humpbacks. Jan. 7th, spotted my first whale from shore. 9:00 am, ½ mile out, going south. Too windy to tell much from the blow and no side view due to swell. Feeling it was a Bryde’s. Talked to Vicente this morning and he has seen around 15 whales already. This is somewhat unique because my records show that they generally haven’t shown up in these numbers till around the 20th +. Some were Sperms and a small group of Orcas. V says the water is very cold (“green”), interesting to contemplate the significance of that both immediately and in regard to climate change. Jan. 9th, HB spotted by Vicente, girls saw one yesterday doing many tail lobs. Jan. 21st, first time out. Winds down and weather good but saw no whales. Antonio said one of his friends from San Isidro saw one yesterday breaching only a short ways out. No ID of type. Suspect it was a HB due to descrip-tion of activity. Jan. 27th, second time out. Weather very spotty but saw 3 HBs from bodega. Vicente and I scramble for it and see them at around San Pedro. One partial fluke ID, lots of good flank shots. Mother with Calf there, probably with an escort. Saw more action south of us and picked up at least 5 maybe 8 more HBs in front of San Isidro. One other mother/calf pair I believe. Only got 3 fluke IDs though lots of action (breaching, tail lobs, trumpeting). No really good sized whales mostly young ones, could have been part of a competitive group. All within about 1 sq mile of each other in groups of 2, 3 and 4. One HB# 6(8) did most of the fluking up because he shows up almost everywhere (have at least 8 shots of him fluking….synchronicity or very busy??). Wind drove us in, hard to get good shots in roll and bad lighting. A little disappointed by the lack of fluke shots but a good day nonetheless. Feb. 1st, 3rd time out. Beautiful conditions but no sightings until the very end while coming in. One HB only a mile out at most from San Pedro. Good ID but had to follow for 5 blow sequences before a flukes up. Feb. 4th, nice day but didn’t go out. Saw one HB moving south in front of Alan’s, ½ mile out, 9:15-9:30 am Feb. 5th, nice day but didn’t go out. Vicente saw two HBs and Antonio saw a Blue (?) further out. Feb. 7th, It has been almost a week since my last time out. Weather has been good but I’m trying to conserve research funds for the peak of the season. Hard to do when Vicente and his friends are spotting whales every day. Started the morning on top of my bodega as usual and within a few minutes I spotted two HB’s out about 2 miles east and a mile and a half south of El Cardonal. Even though I wasn’t to meet Vicente at the beach until 8:00 (it was 7:20) I went over to his house and once again he could tell I was on the scent. With no time wasted we were launched and on the track. I am not sure but I think I have two good ID’s, maybe one is just a good “comparison” (that’s when the pic is not of the quality to justify putting it in the global catalogue as an ID but it goes into the catalogue for possible comparison later). I won’t know for sure until I have them downloaded from my camera into iPhoto and can play with them. Good start…no? Just gets better! We decide to go further out and see if there might be some Blues going by on their way to Loreto. We get out about 12 miles and then one of Vicente’s friends radios us and says he has two Humpbacks where he is fishing. We turn around and head back to La Linea where they are supposed to be; very close to the beach. We find them and then the fun starts. Not two but four…. and are they doing a number (I don’t report this way in my scientific submissions). Breaching, tail lobs…. and way close to the boat. It is the first time I see Vicente a bit concerned because they all come in real close (6’ maybe) and very active. I keep saying to him…”it’s OK, it’s OK” because as far as I am concerned this is a very special greeting from the whale people. I struggled mightily with the alternative of getting ID’s or going in with them. Science and my sanctuary goal dominated so I didn’t go in. I was just talking about such a situation with my friends next door last night. I took over 150 shots altogether and I am just downloading them now. A cruiser came by right at the wrong time with about 10 gringos on board and they messed up my work for about ½ hour, even after I explained that I was from the Univ. of La Paz Mammal Research Center (I’m not but I am a Colaborador) and if they might not back off. I told them I was attempting to get IDs. Might as well talk to rocks!! I won’t repeat what I was saying under my breath but in order not to alienate anyone from remembering a “whale Experience” with total joy (however mindless) I only gave off extremely negative body language. Feb. 10th, sighted two Blue Whales (first Blues for me this season) about ½ mile out from Alan’s. 10:30-11:00 am. Thought they were going north so launched kayak for intercept. Lots of wind chop but fun…no intercept or further sighting. Feb. 11th, sighted one whale moving north again in front of Alan’s but further out. Maybe a mile. Big wind so difficult to determine species. My guess is another Blue Whale. About 7:30 am. Feb. 14th, sighted two whales moving north around 7:15 am. 1-1 ½ miles out, HBs. In front of Los Algodonas. Sighted 4-5 more moving south around 10:30, doubt if the same but impossible to say. Again about a mile out and in front of the point by Alan’s. Appeared pretty active, not just cruising. Feb. 16th, sighted two Humpbacks slowly going south, 1 mile out from Cardonal, kayaked out but missed them. That’s 11 whales going by without me being able to get out to them….gotta get a zodiac to keep at Alan’s. Feb. 20th, sighted two whales around 7:00 am. One going south about 1 mile out, one going north about ½ mile out. Species on south unable to tell, one going north probably Bryde’s whale. Feb. 22nd, sighted 1 HB at 8:20 am in front of Punta Pescadero but could not get ID (lost him/her?). Picked up another at 11:46, 2 miles out from Las Tinas, cruising, HB# 14. Feb. 23rd, encountered 1 Blue whale in front of El Cardonal, 7:30 am, 2 miles out, encountered 1 Humpback in front of Los Algodones, 7:53 am, 2 miles out, encountered 2 Blue whales in front of Punta Pescadero, 9:32 am, 6 miles out. Feb. 25th, encountered HB #16 at 7:30 am, 3 miles out, Boca del Alamo; encountered Blue #4 at 8:45 am, 4 miles out, Boca del Alamo; encountered HB # 17, 1 mile out, El Cardonal Feb. 26th, went out but no whales Mar. 3rd, encountered one HB (HB# 18 09) off Boca del Alamo, 1 mile out, 8:21 am. Also a Brydes Whale. Mar. 4th, encountered 2 HBs at 8:00 am off Punta Pescadero, 2 miles out. Joined by a 3rd HB at 8:47 am in closer. Mar. 5th, encountered 2 HBs (#’s 22/23) off Las Tinas at 10:43 am, 1 mile out Mar. 6th, encountered 2 HBs at 8:31 am, Tuna Hole about 1 mile out. HB# 24 was “Odin”, first returnee to my area. Courting behavior but no fluke shot on damsel (HB# 25). Mar. 9th, sighted 3 HBs from Bodega roof. Gave chase in Kayaks, no luck. Mar. 15th, 3 HBs (HB# 26-28) encountered off Boca del Alamo, 9:21 am, 8 miles out Mar. 19th, 1 HB (HB# 29) encountered off Boca del Alamo, 8:27 am, 3 miles out. 2 HBs (HB# 30-31, mother and calf, no flukes) encountered off Las Tinas, 10:18 am, ½ mile out, 1 HB (recapture of HB# 29 so HB# 32) off Punta Pescadero, 11:33, 2 miles out. April 1st, 1 Blue Whale sighted off Alan’s point, ¼ mile out, 8:30 am, going south. April 3rd, 8 HBs seen by Vicente’s son in close at Punta Pescadero. April 5th, sighted 2 maybe 3 HBs off Alan’s point, ¼-1/2 mile out, 1:30 pm, going south, much breaching. At least one was very young doing it’s first breaches. Also 1 large adult breaching. April 8th, sighted 4 HBs just off the reef heading north about 7:00 am. Got Vicente going around 8:15 and found 2 of them in the middle of Bahia Los Muertos. Mother and calf, no flukes but flank shots pretty good. April 9th, sighted 2 HBs from bodega roof. 11:00 am about 1 ½ or 2 miles out from Los Algodones. Breaching mode. April 10th, encountered 2 HBs off San Pedro, 2 miles out, 8:30 am. HB# 35 turned out to be Odin again with girlfriend who would not fluke up like last time. After obtaining good ID on Odin went on to another HB breaching some distance away. This one joined the other 2 and combat occurred between Odin and the newcomer (HB# 37). While this was all going on I got an ID on Odin’s girlfriend (HB# 36). Later at 2:25 sighted 4 HBs going south about ½ mile out right in front of Cardonal. Could be some of our morning friends were part of this group. Again lot’s of display! 2 more HBs pass by alittle later, going south. Again in real close. Seems as though the migration has really picked up. April 14th, encountered 2 HBs (HB# 38-39 09) off Punta Pescadero at 8:30 am, 1 ½ miles out, going south. Mother and calf, no flukes. 2 more HBs (HB# 40-41 09) encountered off La Linea at 10:30 am about ½ mile out also going south. Again a mother and very young calf, no flukes. April 16th, encountered 1 HB (# 42 09) in front of Boca del Alamo, 8 miles out. Instant fluke shot then encountered a Blue Whale (B # 6 09) near Punta Perico. Great dive with the Blue Whale! April 23rd, encountered 1 HB off Punta Pescadero, about ¾ miles out at 8:33 am. No fluke shots but both flanks. This is HB # 43 09 (Kersti’s whale). Now known as KK. April 24th, sighted two HBs in Bahia Los Muertos around 8:30. Close to Boca del Alamo. No attempt at ID, on our way to dive Isla Cerralvo. April 26th, 1 HB sighted around 3:00 pm going south in front of Cardonal. About 1 mile out, one breach. April 28th, last time out, no whales. May 2nd, Shawn went out to fish yesterday and saw 2 HBs “way out”. May 3rd, sighted 1 HB from kayak around 9:00 going south in front of Cardonal. Intercepted at 100 ft (?) in front of Algodones but not close enough for a dive. Fluked up. May 6th, mother/calf sighted by George & Rick off Algodones, about ½ mile out going south. June 4th, one HB moving south, ½ mile out, “late” July 10th, Vicente spots a HB just out from Las Tinas…going NORTH. Could this be the one I saw the same day without getting a species ID. Vicente is certain it was a HB. The girl at Jose’s said she saw 3 whales a few days before but did not know their species. • Sightings and/or spottings refer to whales seen but not photographed, encounters refer to whales photographed.