Conscious Breath Adventures’ Cruise Report: Week 2, February 2-8, 2013

A Tale of Humpback Whales and a Whale Shark

Conscious Breath Adventures' Cruise Report: Week 2, Feb. 2-8, 2013Week 2 of the Conscious Breath Adventures 2013 humpback whale season started out very nicely, with a calm overnight cruise to our mooring on the Silver Bank. After that, the variety of action and interaction was remarkable, and full of surprises. We have quite a Cruise Report to share with you this week!

(Remember to click the images for a larger view)

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Conscious Breath Adventures’ Cruise Report: Week 1, January 26-February 1, 2013

Conscious Breath Adventures Cruise Report: Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 2013

Welcome to the first Cruise Report of the Conscious Breath Adventures 2013 Silver Bank humpback whale season. We are as excited to bring it to you as we are to be here! The concept behind our Cruise Reports is simple: take one or two of the best photos of the day and add a few sentences describing the action. Taken together, the Cruise Reports offer and excellent armchair overview into what a day, week, month and season with the humpback whales is like. I hope you enjoy reading them all season long. Let’s get started! Continue reading

Why We Loved WhaleFest 2012

WhaleFest was simply amazing! Bringing together top cetacean scientists, conservation advocates, whalewatching companies and nearly 6,000 of the ocean loving public, this 4-day marine mammal extravaganza was well worth the jetlag.

In its second year, the event was described as the “world’s premier whale, dolphin and marine festival” and lived up to it.  I was seriously impressed and offer hats off to organizers Ian Rowlands and Dylan Walker, cofounders of Planet Whale.

Preceding the weekend event were concurrent 2-day meetings of whale watching operators and prominent NGO’s.  These two mini-conferences culminated in naming a ‘Responsible Whale Watch Operator of the Year’ from the operator’s camp, and from the conservation side of the hall, launching a new campaign; Save the Whales: Reloaded.

Captain Gene attended the operators meetings and proudly accepted the award on behalf of Conscious Breath Adventures as well as making strides towards Planet Whale’s goals; creating connections and community within the industry that will raise standards and promote ethical whale watching. Continue reading

Conscious Breath Adventures: Winner of the 2012 Planet Whale Responsible Whale Watching Operator Award!

Capt. Gene Flipse of Conscious Breath Adventures receives the 2012 Responsible Whale Watch Award

Today I am excited to announce the outcome of the 2012 Responsible Whale Watch Operator’s Awards at the World Whale Watching Operator’s Conference at WhaleFest, organized and hosted by Planet Whale, located in Brighton, UK October 25-28.

My excitement is hard to contain and I am happy to report that on Friday afternoon Conscious Breath Adventures was awarded the top honor, being recognized and given the honor of receiving the Responsible Whale Watch Award for 2012! Continue reading

Planet Whale’s WhaleFest 2012 in Brighton, UK

Whalefest logoA crisp, autumnal weekend a few weeks hence will find us on the other side of the Atlantic. On the edge of the English Channel no less, where the beaches are much bolder than their soft Florida cousins, and the shoreline is, well, stony*. We’ll be joining one of the largest gatherings of whale and dolphin enthusiasts anywhere on the globe, meeting to celebrate cetaceans  – it’s Planet Whale’s WhaleFest 2012!

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Our Trip to Jeffrey’s Ledge

Our Course on Jeffrey's Ledge while whale watchingIn the late spring of each year we bid farewell to our winter playmates as the humpback whales of the Silver Bank depart for the cooler but tastier waters of the North Atlantic. After fasting for several months in the tropics, they spend the summer months feeding furiously, many in parts of the Gulf of Maine on Jeffrey’s Ledge and waters near Boston and Cape Cod, part of the protected Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. This week Capt. Gene and I finally got to check out their summer home the way thousands of visitors to New England experience whales: on a whale-watching trip from Gloucester, Massachusetts. It was a great day! Here’s what we learned, contrasted to the wintertime experience, and some highlights from our day on the water. Continue reading

Understanding Whales and Ship Strikes

Report on a Special Edition of the Journal of Marine Biology

Special Edition of the Journal of Marine BiologyI was planning on something a little more lighthearted this week, maybe some fun whale facts and crafts for our younger whale-lovers. But, then the MARMAM digest arrived which included a link to a special edition of the open access Journal of Marine Biology, devoted to cetaceans; Protecting Wild Dolphins and Whales: Current Crises, Strategies, and Future Projections.

Guest editors Lori Marino, Frances Gulland, and Chris Parsons have compiled six articles covering what we know about some of the most pressing issues in cetacean conservation. Continue reading

The Sex Life of Humpback Whales

Humpback whale breaching on the Silver BankLast week we covered female aspects of reproduction in humpback whales, let’s turn our attention now to the boys.

The calm, protected, remote waters of the Silver Bank are an ideal location for North Atlantic humpbacks to give birth and spend the winter before heading to colder, but food-rich, northern waters. It’s also the winter hang-out and the place where gene pools mix, mates are selected and quite probably, though not yet witnessed, babies are conceived.

Some of the key points and fascinating facts about the male side of reproduction in humpback whales follow (with apologies for the anthropomorphizing!) Continue reading

Calm Seas, Calm Whales

The promise of a new day

Guests of Conscious Breath Adventures all know that every day in the Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic is a new opportunity and you never know what you will see and experience as you set out on the whale boats to swim with whales.  March 3, 2011 is just one remarkable example.

The morning dawned calm and clear, with no wind, waves or clouds to speak of, perfect conditions for finding and swimming with whales. After breakfast everyone eagerly geared up for what looked like a very promising day and they were not to be disappointed. We loaded into our whale boats and set off on our search. Continue reading

The Birth of a Humpback Whale

“The female whale or dolphin, in her role as mother, is the linchpin of cetacean population and behavioral biology”, Whitehead and Mann, 2000.

Humpback Whale and Her Calf rest on the Silver BankA look this week at why the Silver Bank is such a critical sanctuary for the humpback whales of the north Atlantic – having babies! Continue reading