Thursday, April 21, 2011

Five Percent

Apparently the sun does shine in Provincetown.  Even the locals are shocked at the weather today.  Blue skies, never-ending sunshine and, if you find a spot that's sheltered from the wind - it's actually kinda warm.  Not hot mind you but the wind has lost a bit of its nordic bite.  Nice!

Nice day to sit on the deck after breakfast, go for a morning bike ride through town and try our luck at whale watching after lunch.

In yesterday's blog, I mentioned some facts about right whales.  I have never seen one before and never been whale watching when they were in town so I was not aware of the rules.  Rules change when the rights are in the bay.  Ships must move slowly and must stay a prescribed distance away at all times.  Not exactly humpback watching where they swim right up to the boat to check us out.  But I was still excited to climb on board and feel the salt spray in my face.

According to current research, there are only about 400 right whales left.  Period.  Hunted down from tens of thousands to a mere handful.  According to recent flights over the bay, there were just over 100 right whales right off the coast of Provincetown.  Over 1/4 of all the rights in the world are swimming just outside our window.  That's pretty amazing! We left the pier and, within minutes, were spotting whale spouts all over the place.

We might not be allowed to approach them but they seemed ok getting pretty close to us!

Right whales feed on copepods which are tiny little lobster-like critters that swim in huge swarms this time of year.  So the whales just cruise along with their mouths open and take in huge mouthfuls of them at a time. Kinda like what people do at Mandarin buffets...

On the way back to the pier, we spotted one last whale.  He was slapping his flipper over and over against the water.  According to the onboard naturalist, they do this to communicate with other whales.  I  prefer to think that he was waving goodbye.

All in all, we saw about twenty different right whales.  In other words, five percent of the world population.  Ah-mazing!

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