On Whales

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The whales were so cool, they get their own post, though I’m not sure what I could say about them that would do them justice.  We only saw humpbacks, though there may have been some gray whales, and there was the hope of seeing some Orcas (technically they’re dolphins, not whales).

It’s funny.  These things are massive beasts, up to fifty feet long and weighing as much as forty tons.  That’s as long as a semi truck trailer and as heavy as an empty railroad car.  And yet you see so little of them (normally).  Just a graceful arch of the blowhole and dorsal fin as they take a breath, and then — maybe — a nice view of the tail fin as they dive for their food.

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It’s so amazing watching these gigantic, graceful creatures glide along the surface, singly, in pods, or as cow/calf pairs.  
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They have a lot in common with us, being mammals.  They breathe air, are warm blooded, and hold their breath when diving, just like us.  They can drown, and can even develop pneumonia.

And every once in a while, they breach!


(This is a photo by Dr. Michael Huang, taken at Cabo San Lucas. Amazing, though, huh? I wish I’d seen one do this… click the image to see some more of Dr. Huang’s great photos)

I think sometimes they like to have fun with the smaller boats…
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The whales were one of the very best parts of the trip. There aren’t many places you can see them easily, and they are truly amazing creatures.

I shot these photos (excepting, obviously, Dr. Huang’s) on my Lumix G5 with the Oly 40-150 lens, in full “P” mode, and in most cases with the “medium” speed rapid-fire shutter enabled. No way I was going to miss the shot while fiddling with settings!

 

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