Bubble Netters II

 

I first published a shot from this very special event back in the summer of 2014, not long after I had been fortunate to witness it. Bubble net feeding humpbacks only come together and do this in a few parts of the world’s oceans. There are other places, such as here off Vancouver Island on the BC coast where they will lunge feed together, but that is very different to bubble netting. When humpbacks lunge feed, they are more opportunistic encounters and when they see a large shoal of small fish they will lunge up through to the surface taking in large gulps of fish, but for bubble netting, they will actually work as a team to catch the fish. On this particular day we initially came across a solitary humpback breaching and slapping the surface of the water with it’s pectoral fin. I saw this three or four times over the two days I was there and it was actually a leviathan call to arms. Several humpbacks formed up on the breaching whale and the group dived together. Once below the surface the whales sing and blow bubbles to confuse the fish and to coral them in a ball – a natural defensive manoeuvre of the fish. Then the whales drive the fish to the surface and finally they all come up in a large mass of gulping whales, fish and water. A sound bite of the whales singing and blowing can be heard on the original posting – Bubble Netters.

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