All posts tagged: whale

Humpback Whale Watching

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.

Humpback Whale Autopsy

  A dead humpback whale washed up near Kadena a few days ago. Humpbacks  migrate from the arctic to Okinawa to breed and rear their young in winter. Unfortunately for this young whale its life ended early. Okinawa Churashima Research Center monitors the migration of humpback whales and dolphins in the prefecture and also undertakes research to help with the preservation of endangered species such as the Hawksbill turtle and coconut crab. They also collect data from dead animals such as turtles killed by cars, bycatch from fishing nets, or beached whales. This morning the researchers undertook an necropsy (animal autopsy) of the humpback whale. The length of the whale, flukes, and various others parts were measured. The outer layers of blubber were then cut away, measurements were taken, and the flesh was bagged for disposal. The decomposing whale smelled badly especially downwind. As more and more of the whale was removed and bagged, the bones were also measured, and collected separately. After analysis the data will hopefully give some insight into why the whale, …

Whale Watching on Okinawa

It’s whale watching season in Okinawa. I’m doing some research and taking pics for a future article. Choppy seas, dark skies, and subjects that don’t respond to direction (Excuse me, if you would be so kind as to breach in front of the boat.) make getting decent shots a bit of a lottery. I have one keeper from the first trip, and hopefully I’ll get some more interesting pics over the next few weeks.