2-10-09: Another day with good conditions and I was sitting off Airport Beach hoping for some whales to come by. There were a number of pods around and it was just a question if any would chose to come my way. There was a kayak further out that I could see getting mugged by some whales that seemed intent on hanging around it. Another kayak came in for the show and I just stayed in place feeling that things were getting a bit crowded out there. The calf surfaced a couple times by the kayaks and the mom came up on the second surfacing to join the calf. They were obviously aware of the kayaks and not a bit concerned as they swam around in close proximity. The mother and calf then started swiming in my direction and then dove:
It looked like they were moving pretty quickly and I figured they would just swim under me and away. I kept my eyes out for them looking down in the water but didn't see them. I did start hearing a singer in the boat and water though and thought that odd! After probably 10 minutes while listening to the song which seemed to be right beneath me, I noticed I could see some pectoral fins way down deep. I figured I would just sit tight and see what might happen. The next thing I knew, the calf surfaced on its own probably only 50' away and indicating that the mom and calf had just dove down but not swam away.
The calf then did some rolls and tail twists on the surface and proceeded to swim directly at me!! It stopped about 8' away, on the surface and pointed directly at me. I slipped my wide angle camera housing into the water and started hitting away on the shutter lever while watching the calf's head roll from one side to the other and surge up out of the water and then drop down a bit. Its snout never did go below the water and I believe a few minutes transpired with the calf so close and looking righ at my boat. Eventually, the mom surfaced just beyond the calf and her blow spray rained down on me. I kept clicking away figuring I was getting some incredible shots of calf with mother just behind.
I was so disappointed later, after the encounter to discover that I only got one shot and it was when the calf was swimming off with the mom behind. I don't know why the camera didn't find focus and record the image and I regret that I hadn't also taken some shots from the surface with the other camera. The frame would have ben filled with the calf's snout but I thought I was getting the full view underwater.
The one shot I did get is bitter sweet as it is a great photo but has me wondering what I might have got or seen when the calf was so much closer and pointed right at me! The sun was also behind me at the time so the lighting would have been ideal. Arghh!!!!
The one underwater shot:
After mom took the calf away, I switched back to the topsides rig and got a pic of mom'e back:
The singer, which turned out to be the escort, surfaced just on the other side of my boat and headed in towards shore with mom and calf. I got a sequence of it after it has surfaced and surprised everybody:
10 or 15 minutes later, the calf surfaced by itself not so far off and dinked around on the surface for a while before dropping down under again. It did a couple tail slaps and I caught it in process:
After it went down, there were two new double kayaks manned by some guys that I could hear yelling as they paddled as fast as they could towards where the calf had been. I figured they likely would encourage the whales to move on and I didn't want any part of being out there or seen in the company of these guys who were obviously agressively in pursuit of the whales. I called it a day and paddled in; totally bummed about the shots that got away.