October 6, 2013
“It was hard to wait until 5 pm to board the boat. The excitement builds. For months we have been looking forward to seeing the Right Whales, up close!
We drove the long drive back to Peninsula Valdes. I was so excited. The drive definitely took longer than yesterday.
At 4:30, we pulled into Puerto Piramide, basically a settlement of about 500 people and the only town on the peninsula. We are scheduled on the sunset cruise out of Puerto Piramide to see the Southern Right Whale.
We kill time in the loft of the cruise company overlooking the extensive beach stretching to the water. We can see our boat on a trailer.
At a few minutes past 5 the signal is given. Twenty people file across the beach to the boat that is still on the trailer. We board the boat and it is slowly backed into the water. It is such a long, shallow beach, this is the most convenient way to launch. Launching takes place at low tide.
Immediately we pass dauntingly high walls of rock. It looked as though it was part of an old protective wall, but nature was its only creator.
As we rounded out of the bay, we heard and then saw dozens of seals at the top of the wall. They wait for the tide to come in and then slip into the water to feed after a relaxing day sunning on the rocks.
We huddled to keep warm as we skimmed over the water in search of whales.
Our first encounter was with a mother and baby. Whales come to this area from May to December to mate and give birth to their young.This youngster was brave, coming along side the boat. The naturalist was concerned that the mother was acting strangely.
My favorite was watching baby whales tagging alongside their mom, imitating mom’s moves. They were not very good at breaching, but they had the tail slap pretty good.
Notice the white patches on their head. These are called callosities. They are as unique as a fingerprint, thus they are used to identify individuals
The biggest thrill was watching them breach. These massive bodies would suddenly break water, launching most or all of their body out of the water, twisting in the air; then return splash into the water, their massive bodies pushing water high into the air.
Our 2 hours went by way too fast. As the sun was setting, we headed in to port.
On our way back, a few dolphins came to play in our wake. Our guide said it was uncommon to see them at this time of year. First Orcas, now dolphins . . . life is good.
Whale watching from a boat is impressive. You can watch them from shore, but it is surprising how close they will let you approach on the water.
Please read my next DIDYA post about the Right Whale. You will learn more about them, including some creepy pictures and info about the white markings on their head.