1987 First Meeting with Talon 6/20/87 #1

Early summer weather in the Gulf of Maine can be very unpredictable. Even though the boat started operating in late May, by June 20th we had only managed to get out 5 times. On three of those days (June 16th , 18th and 19th), we saw three well known females feeding and traveling together in different configurations. They were interested in each other and so didn't interact with us. That was fine with me, I love to hang back and watch interactions amongst the whales themselves, but many passengers were restless, wanting a "close encounter" of the Disney kind.

Well on the 20th of June a "close encounter" was exactly what we had! The day got off to a slow start... for the first hour and a half we watched a mature whale busily feeding. We stayed with it through 5 diving cycles: it would be down for 7 or 8 minutes, come up for 2 minutes and blow 6 to 9 times before diving again. The captain could see clumps of feed on the "feed finder" at about 310 feet below the surface.

After a while we were distracted by a finback who blew once and disappeared (they swim so fast, they can cover great distances under water) but it drew us further south and there we saw a whale breach twice!
87 6-20 Talon's calf03
In between breaches, it would come to the surface and blow, then roll over on its back and "tail wag", flailing its fluke vigorously back and forth.
1987 6-20 Talon's calf 14
It looked "tiny" if you can call a 15' animal that. We were guessing it was a calf, but where was its mother?! We worried after seeing it alone for over ten minutes. To make matters worse, a fishing boat came steaming right across the little whale's path and we were frantic until we saw the it pop up again in boats wake and wheeze blow (a loud wheezing exhalation which is thought express alarm or annoyance). The whale went back to waving its flukes in the air as if nothing had happened and the people on the boat cheered in relief.