Spotlight Russia: A wonderful and unforgettable western grey whale survey

One of the playful western grey whales.One of July’s days, the local fishers have offered us to give us a ride to “Nogliki” – the nearest town in about 70 miles.

It was a good opportunity for us, because already a half time of our presence here has passed and some food of first necessity was over.

Maxim and Evgeniya have left to the town to buy supplies and next day they have returned, leading the army of sausages, potatoes, cheese etc. Our friend from “Nogliki” Sasha Likhanov has brought them back on his car.

Despite food and other supplies Max and Geniya have taken from the town good weather and we could have surveys again. (Unfortunately because of the weather our surveys are not so often, as we wish them to be. That’s why we enjoy every opportunity)

It was enough windy, but there were no foamy crests on the water – the right sign, that waves won’t turn over our boat with us and our expensive equipment.

Moreover, it was first survey under the bright shining sun, what did our work terrific journey to the nature.  

First on our way were mother and her whale kid, the show we got used to, but still unbelievable sweet.

A pair of western grey whales enjoying the rare sun.And even this was not enough, comparing to next thing we have seen. One more couple of mother and her baby, but this time the kid was jumping out of the water, let much splashes and was no doubts the happiest creature in the whole universe.

We were observing few groups more and then we met harbor porpoise – one of the smallest cetaceans of the world.

The difference is really big: an adult grey whale is bigger in about 12 times, as a porpoise. (And a whale kid is a little bit bigger, than our boat.)

First of all it was one female porpoise and her kid, but then we saw the whole group of four species. Earlier harbor porpoises were seen only by single animal in this area and also rare enough.

“What a wonderful world!” – said Armstrong.

Unfortunately the wind was getting stronger and we had to come back. People say, unfinished things are remembered better. That’s true!

Impossible to forget this survey!

With bunch of impressions,

IFAW Piltun expedition researching grey whales. 

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation