Mischievous whales, orcas, and sea lions around Sakhalin

Gray whales

While we were performing photo identification of gray whales around Sakhalin, we met a new friend.

We call him Hooligan.

Almost every time our research team exits the Bay he meets us, dives under the boat, splashes us with his tail and lets out air bubbles.

A 10-ton whale frolicking under your boat is both exciting and terrifying.

We have also met many mother-calf pairs.  The calves are curious about the boat, coming very close in a friendly way.

The most unexpected meeting in the last days was with two groups of orcas, which is rare in this area.

The first group was very communicative. The orcas were approaching the boat from various sides, diving under the boat. Some even jumped fully out of the water.

Having finished work with this group we moved on. Close to the shore we saw water splashing and when we approached we witnessed young orcas and a Steller sea lion playing. Upon seeing us the orcas left, while the Steller sea lion continued to play near the boat.

--MV

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