Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Humpback Whales are passing thru again.

A week ago I had a stressful day and decided to take the invite from my Dad to go fishing instead of staying back to play mechanic. He doesn't always look so miserable. SMILE NEXT TIME DAD!
Thank goodness Tony can manage the engine work these days. Anyway, the seas were glassy and it was ideal fishing weather. We started very late as is usual with my Dad, and although Uncle Jim had caught a bunch of wahoo before we arrived the action seemed to stop as we pulled up to the North side of Guava Deep. We trolled and trolled and came up with only three barracuda which I had the displeasure of throwing back. Man do they smell bad. Whwew!

Anyway, Vance who had to be at work back at American Airlines for 6 pm needed to be back in Jolly Harbour for 5 pm, so we had to leave the area long before the late afternoon bite. We came up short with no wahoo for dinner, but you know the saying: "A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work". Of course my work is fun, but just being out on the water when it’s calm is pleasurable enough even when you are not catching anything. On the way back in I glanced behind and to the port side for a split second and saw a spout. WHALE I shouted, and dad slowed down. If it were not for Vance, we would have gone back up to have a look at the whales, but we had to get in. The whales were about 4 miles due North of Sunsail Hotel and I saw them spout a few more times as we accelerated back towards Diamond Channel. About a minute further on I saw another spout, but this time it was much closer to the boat and I could see some of the dark colours of the whale break the surface.
The humpbacks were back, and this time they were earlier than normal. They pass through every year at about this time on their way North usually with young newborn calves playing alongside. Here is Captain Tony on the eco boat looking for whales with some guests on our way back from a private tour in Barbuda. There are no whale watching tours in Antigua for several reasons, but whenever our boats see them we immediately go over to them unless it’s too rough outside the reef. This shot was taken one day in the same area as the ones we have just seen. We had a group of Italians who snapped a few photos and then asked "Spiaggia?". It always amazes me how some people can avoid being totally fascinated by these huge rare animals. I find it hard to steer away and leave them even when I know I have to continue a tour. Of course what amazes me even more is that our government support Japanese slaughter of these fine creatures. When my dad represented our government at international whaling conventions Antigua and Barbuda were anti Japan. Then the money came pouring into Antigua from Japan and my Dad was replaced by people who see no problem with Japan's stance. This will pass too. For now we have to educate people about whales I guess. I hope to get some new fresh images this year. These ones are old and I have used here on this blog before. Captain JD above on Xtreme after we spotted some whales up ahead. Whales will be here until the end of April. If you will be here during that time then keep your eyes on the water. If not, then keep them here.