Today I would like to share a particularly phenomenal cruise that I had the chance to take. Arriving at our first observation site, we saw a large spout six metres high. No doubt about it! It was indeed a blue whale. With my eye glued to my lens, I watched for the arrival of the next big column of condensation with one question in mind: who was this whale?
Another blast! I watched the giant powder blue, gray-mottled back glide by. Finally, the dorsal fin appeared. Rather broad and curved, with a distinctive white reflection… it was Jawbreaker, a female who has been visiting the Marine Park since 1990. Jawbreaker arrived in the park a few weeks ago and I’m beginning to recognize her. A favourite amongst captains, Jawbreaker almost always shows her tail when she dives. Under her tail is another one of Jawbreaker’s distinctive features: a large white spot. I had barely obtained the photos I was looking for when we heard a second blast behind us.
Whirling around, I was surprised to see that a second blue whale had arrived on the site. There was no mistaking this whale… It was Crinkle, a female that we have observed since 1982. Crinkle has a unique appearance: her skin is wrinkled and covered with small bumps, giving her the appearance of suffering from particularly severe acne. I knew Crinkle from the catalogue, but had never seen her in the flesh! Despite all the excitement, I managed to capture the series of shots I needed to confirm her presence in the park.
Back on the docks, I was still smiling from ear to ear. What luck to see two famous blue whales in a single day!
Jaclyn Aubin joined the GREMM team this year as a volunteer research assistant. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology. As part of the photo-census program of large rorquals in the Marine Park, she collects photos and data on board tour boats. She also shares this information with the editorial team of Whales Online.