Today, 3-17-09 was one of the first days in weeks that saw some reasonably calm water although the skies were leaden. Most of February and the first part of March this year has been poor conditions for whale watching out on the water. There has been some large surf and mostly strong winds with cool and dark days. I paddled out on the surfski and stopped when I saw a calf surface up ahead a ways. The calf was with its mom and there was an escort. The calf would surface every 5 minutes or so and the adults every 20 minutes or so. They crossed in front of me and seemed to park not too far off.
Everytime the calf would surface, it would be a bit closer to me and then when the mom would surface, she would swim a bit away from me with the calf following. The calf would surface on its own and each time, getting again closer to me. I kept hoping it would come over for a close encounter or give me a show on the surface. On one surfacing, the calf came up with a nice spy hop but it caught me off guard and I didn't have the camera in hand. It was quiet and peaceful out there and the wind ended up dying completely for a short while.
Above, the mother surfaced and joined the calf and swam a bit away from me as I mentioned. In the three images below, you can see that the calf matched its mom in sync of motion. You can also see the relative size of the two in comparison.
The escort then surfaced and followed:
I don't think I ever saw the mom's tail come out of the water as it likely stayed in shallow water below the calf but the escort did lift its tail and presumably went deeper.
Below, the mother had surfaced and in the image, you can see her blow raining down on her back.
After a couple more surfacings, I caught a tail sequence of the escort again:
Another tail sequence:
This last whale above was one of a pair that showed up in pursuit of the mom, calf and escort. It may have been a pair of males in hopes of displacing the escort. The whole group took off and swam in towards the beach and then north. I was probably close to the initial pod for about an hour and with each surfacing sequence I had hope for some surface shows and perhaps a breach or two. The conditions were ideal but it was not to be.