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Friday, September 2, 2011

Minke-ingdom (01/09/11)

Boat echosounder - orangey-yellow colouration in top 20 m  could indicate presence of food.
The 6am fog was fast-moving and patchy and as the Irene-induced land lubbery was not agreeing with the marine mammals within us we unanimously decided to try our luck - on the water. 

We departed Mingan at 8am and cruised in and out of fog patches in a southwesterly direction towards Banc Parent where we began to see signs of life - porpoises, storm petrels and minkes. A positive sign so we made an approach...initially in the hope of finding something bigger. A quick glance at the boat's echosounder indicated the possible presence of food within the top 20 m - perhaps explaining why the minkes were zipping around. We tried to tag one for half an hour but had to give up the goat because the little critters were far from curious and hard to approach. In general, they are extremely challenging to tag because they move very fast and are so small that opportunities are few. Interestingly, they appear to have a layer of slime that prevents the tag from sticking very well. Thus the whole procedure requires a large quantity of luck.

Although we didn't get a tag on, I managed to get a few photos to share with all of you....my first foray into Minke-ingdom - please enjoy!

Few things to note - the very sickle shaped dorsal fin (compare it to the blue whale's dorsal in the banner of my blog) and the black/grey colouration of the body (most evident in the top photo). Also, its amazing how most of the length of the back, including the dorsal fin and blow holes appears at once when the whale surfaces to breathe - something we never see with the very large blue whale - after all blue whales are about 5 times the size of these little guys!!

1 comment:

  1. Please feel free to browse the rest of the blog and ask questions or leave comments!! Thank you for visiting :)