Antarctic Whale Tails/Tales
OK, I’ll admit it. Spending time on the water in a Zodiac watching for and hopefully photographing whales in Antarctica has never been at the top of my list of photo experiences…until this last photo tour. Well, actually it probably is not near the top of the “photo experiences” list but as an experience on its own…WOW!!! After several days along the Antarctic Peninsula on a Marine Mammals Tour, along with a few researchers that were on-board, we had the most incredible whale encounter one could ever wish for.
We set off in our Zodiacs from our ship, the Akademik Ioffe, for what was suppose to be about a two hour cruise near one of the nearby islands located in Cierva Cove looking out for a colony of Chinstrap penguins. We did manage to spot and photograph a group for a while as they jumped, or attempted to jump, out of the surf onto the rocky shore. A leopard seal popped up out of the water several times waiting for a meal. No such luck, this time.
Not far off we spotted a few breaching humpback whales so we decided to take a closer look. Little did we know that the whales had the same idea only their idea of a “closer look” was a bit different from ours! We stopped a safe distance away so as not to disturb them and just watched as the logged, tail and fin slapped and occasionally spy-hooped to take a look at us looking at them. It didn’t take long at all for one very curious whale to come towards us eventually swimming under and alongside our “tiny” little Zodiac.
That encounter would have been wonderful enough but as it turned out it was just the beginning of about a two hour show! Who knew getting sprayed many times with whale snot could be so much fun, for us and seemingly for the whales?! The size of these magnificent creatures is incredible but even more so was how gentle they appeared. At any moment a lift of a tail or head could have sent us all into the icy water but fortunately that was not to be. In the end we had around six whales that came over to us which made it difficult to decide where to look and where to point the camera. I shot very little in the way of still images but did mange to capture a good amount of video, as well as a few face fulls of whale blow! Here’s a short clip.
This was a ten day tour, the last voyage for this Antarctic season. I was actually hoping for more stormy conditions as the winter weather blows in but that was not the case. Here are a few other images I captured during this trip. I do not have any tours to Antarctica scheduled for the 2017-2018 season but if you have an interest or any questions regarding travel to this spectacular location let me know!