John & Anne Wiley

2016/04/19

Whale Mystery

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,Random,SB Region — John @ 02:51

It’s unusual to see whales close to shore, but we saw a group perhaps half a mile off Montecito. Much more unusual were these brown blobs behind them.

3569 Whale Blobs

3569 Whale Blobs

I thought at first they were the misty “blows” created when a whale surfaces and exhales strongly. But those are clear mist that looks white in the sun. Could it be blood or darkened breath from some lung ailment? We got closer for a better look.

3562 Brown Water

3562 Brown Water

We still couldn’t tell from the air but closer and at maximum zoom this cropped pic reveals that it was brown water. I’m basing that on the “collar” of brown in the water at the front of where the juvenile whale’s back is out of water. There’s also brownish water behind that whale. We’ve seen several dozen whales, mostly Gray Whales, over the years but never anything like this. Then we saw that it was probably two mothers with juvenile calves, and both calves were doing the brown water thing so probably healthy. Soon we saw all four doing normal clean blows when they surfaced.

3585 Brown Gray Whales

3585 Brown Gray Whales

Since preparing the pix for this post I’ve learned more, and will send a post about it to Edhat tomorrow (use the link in the right column here to see that after they publish it some time 4/19/2016). Meanwhile, here’s a happy ending showing a mother and calf coming up clean with her rainbow blow in the sun that I’ve accentuated by pumping up the color.

3703 Rainbow Whale Blow

3703 Rainbow Whale Blow

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