The Churaumi Research Center is able to identify and track individual whales by photographing their flukes. The data has allowed them to map their movement along the migration route, and note that the same individuals return year after year to Okinawa. Some of the researchers are able to identify the individuals on sight and have given them names including Snoopy and Z. The whale watching season is coming to a close in Okinawa, but they’ll be back again next year.
Out today with the Churashima Research Center taking pics from their research boat. A much happier occasion than photographing the carcass of a whale that had died and then washed up on the beach. We were in the waters of the coast of Motobu not far from Sesoko Island. We saw around 20 whales in total, but it was the first mother and calf pair that were the star performers. The whales slapped the surface with their long pectoral fins, and perform breaches before crashing back down onto the surface of the water. Pics shot with the Pentax 645Z and a 300m lens. Used a monopod to take the strain off my arms. Shot at ISO 400 so that I could use shutter speeds between 1/2000 and 1/4000 of a second.
In March, during the annual migration of humpbacks past Okinawa, I had an article in Dragonair’s Silkroad magazine on whale watching. Only some of the photos are mine as I didn’t have any great whale breaching images for the client, but text and some pics will do this time. The new home / office looks out from Motobu towards Sesoko Island so hopefully next March I’ll be able to do some whale watching from the garden.