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First meeting withe a whale

On the ferry between Aasiaat and Qasigiannguit, I'm zooming on an iceberg, 5 to 6 km away from the ship. A blast appears... no doubts, it is a whale. Possibly a bowhead whale, maybe an humpback whale...

Baleine jubarte entre Aasiaat et Qasigianguit



Watching whales

If one use ferries for traveling, it is likely that you will meet some, but you must watch the sea without stopping.

One also may watch whales from the coast. Aasiaat (and probably Ilimanaq too), is suited to observe general and even social behaviour.
There, I could do pictures and film at about 5 or 6 km. In that case, you are sure not to influence their behaviour.

To have closer watch, you can pay for a whale safari. Films and pictures of this page come from a safari near d'Ilimanaq, starting from Ilulissat.
The captain knows where they are, sails to the zone, and when one whale comes to surface, he sails in its direction and turns the engine off.
If you feel a bit ecologist, you will ask yourself what you are doing on this boat, which will disturb the animals for the pleasure of some tourrists. Will they come back next year ?
Concerning humpback whales (who enjoys coasts), they don't look to be disturbed by ships:"whale safaris" are obviously one of the favorit hobbies of local inhabitants since many years.

After the safari, I had the idea to rent a boat... However, after seeing a whale jumping out of water, and falling down in it, I understood that a better knowledge of this animal is required before becoming autonomous, even if this behaviour looks rare.





Photograph and film whales

The beginning is difficult; I expect to do better next time.
After 1 or 2 hours watching, everything becomes more easy but the safari ends up.

Humpback whales come on surface to breath by series of 2 to 5 emergences with an about 20 to 30 seconds interval. The video "Qippoqaq is back" is in real times, and attempts to show this interval.
The blows (when it happens) begins just before the emergence.
Of course, the location of the first emergence is unknown. Consequently, we miss at least the picture of the the blow of the first emergence of the sequence.

Then the whale dives. At that time, you shoud note the direction in order to evaluate when and where it will come back to the surface. So, you get a chance to take the picture of the blow.

Finally, the way it dives indicates you wether it will come back whithin the next minute or not : if the plunge is not spectacular, it is likely that the whale will come back in the next tenths of seconds (the whale swims near the surface).
A plunge with a strong curve of the back (rounded back), and a tail above the water surface indicates that you will have to wait several minutes before a putative coming back.


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