Grey Whales and Piltun Lagoon

Saturday, August 30, 2014

This day we anchored off Piltun Lagoon, about midway up the east coast of Sakhalin Island.

Immediately after dropping anchor the zodiacs were lowered into the water and the expedition team went looking for, and found, grey whales. So all 8 zodiacs were loaded up with participants and off we went to admire those magnificent creatures. It was all about spotting the ‘blows’ and then going after and towards the animals. We were lucky to have as our zodiac driver Conrad Field (1), an expert on, amongst others, marine mammals.

Later that afternoon we went for a hike in the flat coastal land. It was nice to be able to stretch our legs a little.

We got out on the zodiacs. Photo courtesy of Peter Wainberg.
These grey whales don’t come up much.
But we did get lucky with this one!
Thanks to Conrad we managed to get quite close.

(1) From the Expedition notes:

Conrad Field is a professional naturalist and biologist residing in Homer, Alaska. He often works as a seasonal field botanist with several government agencies throughout Alaska and teaches marine science to elementary students for various educational organizations. 

He is also an accomplished artist in the media of pen-and-ink and scrimshaw. Conrad and his wife, Carmen, own Northcountry Nature, a small natural-history publisher, and in 1999 wrote a guide to spineless wonders of the north, Alaska’s Seashore Creatures – A Guide to Selected Marine Invertebrates. In June 2008 Conrad’s Alaska Ocean ABCs, a colorful introduction via the alphabet to marine life of the north, was published by Northcountry Nature. 

Since 1989 Conrad has been a naturalist-lecturer aboard a variety of expedition vessels, primarily in polar and sub-polar regions, including a dozen to the Russian Far East and over 82 voyages to the Antarctic. On these voyages, he has lectured on natural history, seabird biology, marine mammals, whaling, the art of scrimshaw, marine invertebrate life, and local flora and fauna.