Sunday 9 September 2018

The Humpback Ghost

Last Saturday, we had a great Yorkshire Coast Nature whale and seabird trip out of Staithes. We saw about 15 Minke Whales, a Sooty Shearwater, some Manx Shearwaters and lots of common seabirds. Best of all, we saw a large whale, presumably a Humpback blowing in the distance. Sean, our skipper, spotted this first looking back towards the shore. I saw a large bushy blow three times, before the animal vanished. We chugged over but there was no sign. The atmosphere on the boat was electric as we scoured the sea looking for the leviathan. Ten minutes later, we found it again. It blew four times and this time some back was visible, but it was facing away so the fin was hardly visible.It then disappeared, like a ghost. The blow was large c6 feet and bushy. I suspect this was a Humpback Whale, but sadly I could not clinch it. There was debate on board about whether Minkes could ever behave like this, but I have never seen it if they do. Hopefully somebody will see it again and clinch the ID. Whatever the result, it added to a very exciting trip, with stacks of great Minke Whale sightings and a boat full of happy clients.

Minke Whales, off Staithes. With the variety of dorsal fin shapes on offer, it should be possible to track some of these individuals.

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