86 8-20 Tusk10

86 8-20 Tusk10
Originally uploaded by yeimaya.
We saw Tusk two or three more times in August, always near mothers and calves and usually moving with great determination and speed (for a humpback). He never paid us any attention. Here he is on 8/20/86. There were at least 8-10 humpbacks in one small area .... the northwest edge of Jeffreys (right near the top "finger"). We could recognize four: Sargent #0281 (a young female), Equus and her calf (Tusk's mother) , Notch (not sure of sex) and Tusk. Tusk was moving fast from one group to another with a energy that seemed very characteristic to him. After a while I found I could recognize Tusk just by his way of moving and his tidy muscular dorsal. It had been stormy for several days previous to this one and the seas were rough so it was hard to get good clear photographs and a lot of passengers were very sea-sick so we couldn't stay long. It was so frustrating to have to leave this very interactive group behind

As you can see, the storm passed and the sea calmed by the next day. We decided to go back to the same area where we had left Tusk the day before. On the way out we passed through areas of the Basin which were obviously rich with life. Shearwaters and petrals were in excited clumps on the surface of the water and we encountered a group of over 100 White-sided Dolphin chasing and leaping with exhuberance. The captain could see on the fishfinder that we passed over many areas dense with schooling fish.

We found many of the same whales on exactly the same spot we had left them the day before. Sargent was there again swiming in tandem with a whale named Cygnus #0294 (a male first seen in 1980). Two Minke whales, three Finbacks and 10 or more Alantic Whitesided dolphins were feeding in the same area weaving in and out of each other. At one point a dolphin began "bowriding" a fast moving Finback, perhaps hooking a ride with it from one group of prey to another. Even though Finbacks eat plankton and small fish and dolphins eat large fish... large fish eat small fish and so the food chain winds into a circle.

Just a bit further on we came upon Tusk was with another whale we did not recognize.
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