Greg Kaufman

A Tangled Web

The wind has dropped a bit today but the seas are still rolling.  We cruise east and then north towards Merimbula (18 miles north of Eden).  After 35 miles of survey we come up empty handed.  Our radio crackles, it is Captain Gordon on ‘Cat Balou’, “Have you heard about an entangled calf near South Head.”

“No," I replied.

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Greg Kaufman
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Comments

Carol MacDonald (visitor) says:

So close and yet so far!! How frustrating to not be able to reach out and help that whale. Thank you for all you do. Keep up the good work. Let's pray this one beat the odds. Please...those of you who "put stuff out there" collect it back up. It only takes a little diligence, a small extra effort to save a lot of pain.

Love The Orginization (visitor) says:

I love you guys! your amazing!

Peggy Tomaszewski (visitor) says:

So sorry to hear of the whale's misfortune on top of your rough seas... I hope everything gets better soon. Even if it doesn't, always remember what a difference you are making for all humpback whales with every piece of research you gather. We are all very proud of you and wish we could be there to help!

Beth Salles (visitor) says:

You are so right Greg. whales, marine life and all gods creatures deserve our respect. Let's hope this little guy can get that rope off of him and live a long and happy life. I hope you got some identification on him so that next year these two will be able to say hello and thanks for trying!!

How We (Rock'n) Roll

Studying humpbacks off Eden is not for fair weather sailors. The seas can be big, dangerous and unpredictable. A relatively calm, flat day on the ocean can quickly change to a roiling, windy mess. The seas can rise quickly, and the winds will howl from any direction on the compass. Imagine early spring off the coast of Washington, Oregon or Maine and that is what the seas are like off Eden right now. Tough sledding.

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Greg Kaufman
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Comments

Amanda's mom (visitor) says:

Thanks for sharing the pics. It helps to understand what all of you go through to get the research done. It did make me think of Amanda's safety (and yours too) though. Love following what is going on down under.

Beth Salles (visitor) says:

reminds me of our trip back from Lanai last December!! Annie has the same camera as my husband, she isn't going to let anything happen to it lol. Here's to finding Migaloo in all those waves

Wayne (visitor) says:

Great job guys. But Greg, the dolphins weren't following you for the surf. They just couldn't believe you "were out in this weather in that" little boat.

Keep safe.

Wayne from Honolulu

In the Presence of Whales

We first discovered humpback whales in 1987. Or perhaps they found us. Either way from that fateful day in August we have fallen in love with the humpbacks of Hervey Bay.

No, they are not a different species of humpback whales – they are just ‘different’. Something magical happens when the whales leave their migratory pathway and divert into the shallow protected waters found on the inside of Fraser Island, a World Heritage site.

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Greg Kaufman
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Comments

Beth Salles (visitor) says:

One question Greg. Do you think they hang around your boat for so long because you guys are so quiet and they don't feel you are a threat? Unlike the bigger boats with tourists that would probably be louder and more vocal?

greg says:

The 'muggers' are generally females. The subadult females display what we affectionately call 'engine love', as they will spend an inordinate amount of time near our idling outboard. Our methodology is to keep everything the same when a 'mugger' approaches. So if the engine is running we keep it running, vice versa.

Mugging in Hervey Bay tends to happen more in August and early-September and then wanes as the season progresses. This is likely due to the age/sex class of animals present at this time, and tapers off when mothers with their newborn calves arrive in early-Sept.

Beth Salles (visitor) says:

Wow great videos. Must be such an awesome feeling when they get so close to the boat and just look up at you with those gentle soulfull eyes of theirs. makes you just want to reach over and hug them. Thanks for the videos.

curious jean (visitor) says:

Does the whale with the black belly have a name?

greg says:

Black bellied whales are unusual off east Australia, and does not always mean they have black (or mostly black) flukes either (also unusual). In order to track all our identified whales we first give them unique identification codes, and then name some of the unique or memorable ones (e.g. E502 = Nala). To my knowledge we have not 'named' this particular whale - yet.

Kim (visitor) says:

I love all the recent videos--it's like a mini vacation every time I see a new one. You said it's cold there--how does the water temp compare with their birthing/breeding grounds in Maui? Is there anything for the whales to eat in Australia or do they go without like they do in Hawaiian waters? Thanks again for all the great info you're providing!

greg says:

There is a bit more for them to eat in the warm northern waters of east Australia verse Hawaii because of how the east Australian current ebbs and flows through the season. We have had reports of feeding humpbacks from some fishers, as far north as Cairns, but these are infrequent observations. One whalewatch operator reported seeing whales with their mouths open near a pod of feeding gannets and dolphins earlier this month. As the whales head south, we have discovered an area where they feed regularly in mid-migration,
Eden, NSW. Stay tuned, that is where we are heading on October 1st, and I am sure we will have lots of great feeding video and photos to share.

A Tale of Two Days (in the same day)

"It was the worst of times, it was the best of times; it was the day of no whales, it was the day of plenty; it was the epoch of endless whitecaps, it was the epoch of becalmed seas; it was the season of rain and darkness, it was the season of sunshine and light; it was the winter of sleeping whales, it was the spring of breaching joy; we had no whales before us; we had heaps of whales before us, we were getting no data, our cup runneth over with data.” (Apologies to Charles Dickens)

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Greg Kaufman
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Comments

Ruth Ann (visitor) says:

These are fantastic and make me want to be there! Can hardly wait until Feb. in Maui!

Anonymous (visitor) says:

I would not have been able to be quiet either !Love the video being posted. Make them longer.

Beth Salles (visitor) says:

I have to say guys, You three either are so used to seeing breeches or your doing every thing in your power to stay quiet through filming. I would never have been able to keep my mouth shut if that thing breeched like that in front of me!!! LOL

Beth Salles (visitor) says:

I think the whales love grey and cloudy days. When we were in Maui this past December it was rough water and very cloudy out. Normally you don't have a lot of action early in December, but wow we saw a lot of breaching going on. What do you guys think?

greg says:

We know one thing for certain, they love being wet!
There doesn't appear to be a real correlation to weather, although you may see breaching more frequently on poor weather days since that is about the only thing you can see.

New videos now linked to this blog

If Three’s Company, then Two Dozen Boats are a Crowd

“Looks like the same nasty 25 knot southeasterly blowing,” says Annie.

We decide to have breakfast and see if we can catch a break in the weather.

Twenty minutes later I am scanning the horizon, “Blows, several of them near shore,” I shout out.

“Let’s roll,” says Annie.

And off we head to the harbor.

Fifteen minutes later we hit our mark, about 2.75 miles east of the Abel Point Marina.

“There!” points Annie.

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Greg Kaufman
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Mind Me Platypus Duck, Bill

“Ugh!” sighs Annie as she comes in from the balcony after checking the weather.

It’s a gray, dark, overcast, rainy and windy day.

“I was thinking...” I start to say.

Annie’s head snaps up, “Road trip?” she asks brightly.

I nod ‘yes’, and Annie says “Let’s go – uh, where to?”

My favorite animals are generally marine mammals, but I do have few other ‘favs’ that I must admit to. One of them is that mysterious, exotic, secretive aquatic mammal—the platypus, sometimes called the duck-billed platypus.

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Greg Kaufman
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Comments

Pat Gallaher (visitor) says:

Well done they are such shy creatures, a great photo. Love the art work.

Your Momma is a Whale

29 August 2010

Despite the challenging weather and rain squalls about, we head out to sea.

One of the main purposes of our study is the development of a long-term data set of reproductively active females. Since 1984 we have documented the life histories of over 500 female humpback whales and their offspring. This is one of the largest known data sets of breeding humpback whales in the world.

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Greg Kaufman
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\"Pop\" goes the Humpback

28 August 2010

The marine forecast is less than encouraging for the next few days; in fact it will likely be Wednesday, September 1st before we see the return of the idyllic Whitsunday weather.

Which leaves us one choice: head out anyway weather be damned.

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Greg Kaufman
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Living near the Edge

27 August 2010

The wind is up today, blowing some 20 -25 knots from the southwest. There is a real nip in the air.

“It’s cold today,” whinges Annie. “It feels like Eden. I need some more layers.”

“Eden?” I scoff. “It is so cold out, that its almost 75 degrees. The high today in Eden is 61.”

I will grant there is a good chill in the air with the SW blowing, but I think the team is longing for the much warmer weather of Port Douglas. It is winter in Australia, but we are cruising right along the Tropic of Capricorn – how cold can it really be?

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Greg Kaufman
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Comments

Mel (visitor) says:

Wind bun in the worst, you never know that you are getting it until you go inside where there is no wind.

And let me get this straight, its in the 60's there and you are going to say that it is cold, lol? Well I guess it would be colder on the water. And if you are not used to those temps I guess it could be cold for some people.

Mel
physician jobs

Blown Away

After a perfect day on the water yesterday, the skies darken, the wind begins to howl and the rain comes.  We head out any way.  As soon as we enter the Whitsunday Passage it becomes ‘rather ordinary’.  Winds are 25+ knots and seas roiling.

“What happened to the Whitsundays I know and love?” pined Annie.

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Greg Kaufman
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Comments

Andrew Ellis (visitor) says:

Fantastic to have Amanda aboard with us in Hervey Bay today. Perfect weather and sooooo many whales. Great interaction between adult humpbacks, bottlenose dolphin and passengers and crew aboard the MIKAT

Anonymous (visitor) says:

We can hardly wait to get back to the Bay and all our friends, especially Captain Andrew and the crew of Mikat. See you in a week!

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