By Brian Doherty
This past Sunday August 12th, the weather forecast was iffy with showers and storms in the forecast but the RADAR looked okay so my wife Kathie and I headed out on our boat, the Blue Sky.
We headed out of Jones Inlet around 8:00 a.m. and as usual I got on the VHF radio “Any boat out of Jones see any whales or dolphin this morning?”. We did not hear any responses so we headed to an area about 3 miles southeast of the inlet and put the boat on a drift trying to catch Fluke.
Ten minutes into our fishing we heard a response on the VHF radio “Capt looking for whales, we just passed 2 in about 50’ of water out of Jones”. I got on the radio and confirmed the whales were straight out of the inlet heading east so we reeled up the lines and went looking.
After heading into the general area of the reported whales and scanning with the binoculars, we were lucky to find the pair of humpback whales.
When we first came upon the whales, they were swimming east and diving deep. We stayed at a safe distance and followed them for about 5 miles to the east. Once we figured out the general direction the whales were headed, we would drive up ahead and turn off the engine and wait to see if they would surface close to the boat.
A few times they surfaced close enough for good photos and sometimes they surfaced far away. One time, they scared the heck out of us surfacing and blowing only 20’ from the boat.
After following them for roughly 2 hours, they did a lunge feed and of course we missed that one. They did another 4-5 lunge feeds over the next hour and each time both whales would come up together with mouths opened wide with water and bunker flying everywhere. We did manage to get a few decent shots of one or two of the lunges but missed more than we got. It is still awesome to see and hear these 40 ton gentle giants rising up out of the water a couple of hundred feet away.
We also had bottlenose dolphin mixed in with the whales on and off but the whales steal the show when they are lunging or showing tails.
After about 3 hours, we decided to leave the area and leave them to feed in peace. I don’t think we bothered them but we had more pictures than we needed at that point.
This experience defines the word Awesome!
The first three photos were taken by Kathie Rokita, the rest are from Brian Doherty.
More Images on pages 2,3, and 4