Schaffer's Humpback Whale Trips
Photos by Donna and Charlie Schaffer
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Trip to Cordell Banks - October, 2009

These photos were taken in October 9, 2009 on a day trip out of Bodega Bay. The Cordell Banks National Marine Sanctuary is about 30 miles southwest of Bodega Bay off the Northern California coast. The bank itself is about 5 miles wide by 10 miles long. It comes within 115 feet of the surface. The combination of ocean conditions and undersea topography creates a rich and diverse marine community.

Humpback Whales
at Cordell Banks

Humpback Whale
Close to Boat

Humpback Whale
& Albatross

Stellar Sea Lion

White Sided Dolphin

Humpback Whale Tail


Trip to the Silver Banks - March, 2002

These digital photos were all taken in March, 2002 on our 10-day trip aboard the liveaboard diveboat Turks & Caicos Aggressor. The Silver Banks are a shallow area of the ocean (20 to 75 feet deep) surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean that is 7,000 feet deep. The Banks are about 80 miles north of Dominican Republic in the Atlantic Ocean. These humpback whales spend the winter months here to give birth, train their young and breed.

Whale breech
Whale 2
Whale 1

Mother humpback whales rest on the bottom for up to 30 minutes or so at a time. The very young calves can only rest for 5 minutes or so, and hang out at the surface. The six picture series below shows a mother humpback and calf headed to the ocean floor for a nap. When the calves are very young, the mother will leave with the calf away if she notices people.

Mother Humpback Whale-Baby1
Mom-Baby 1
Mother Humpback Whale-Baby2
Mom-Baby 2
Mother Humpback Whale-Baby3
Mom-Baby 3
Mother Humpback Whale-Baby4
Mom-Baby 4
Mother Humpback Whale-Baby5
Mom-Baby 5
Mother Humpback Whale-Baby6
Mom-Baby 6
Mother Humpback Whale and Calf Nap Time
Nap Time

The highlight of the whole trip was two very long sessions, on different days, with the same humpback juvenile male. We named him Valentine based on a similar whale encounter a few years back that happened on Valentine's Day. The Aggressor crew terms a very friendly whale encounter as a "Valentine Experience".
Our Valentine would spin if we did, slap his pectoral fin when we slapped our arms, and didn't leave until we were all exhausted and got out of the water. He seemed starved for company and playmates! When he looked at me I felt as though he wanted to understand me, so I spoke to him and told him all about us, and, of course, told him how beautiful he was.

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale-Friends
Valentine and Friends
Humpback WhaleMeeting
Valentine Meeting
Humpback Whale-KicksToo
Two Kickers
Humpback Whale Nose
Valentine Nose
Humpback Whale Posing
Valentine Posing
Humpback Whale Spinning Again
Valentine Spinning
Humpback Whale Spinning
Spinning More
Humpback Whale Tail
Valentine Tail
Humpback Whale Tummy
Valentine 1
Humpback Whale 2
Valentine 2
Humpback Whale 3
Valentine 3
Humpback Whale 4
Valentine 4
Humpback Whale 5
Valentine 5
Humpback Whale 6
Valentine 6

Here's a few more of our favorite photographs from the trip. My Olympus 3040Z in the Ikelite underwater case was great for this trip. An amazing array of professional photographers, cameras and equipment were on the trip. Thank goodness I had my laptop with me, so I could treat folks to a looping slide show within an hour of getting back to the liveaboard. With a little help from Photoshop, I could crop and adjust and make a fine showing!

Humpback Mom Jr1
Mom & Jr 1
Humpback Mom-Jr2
Mom & Jr 2
Humpback Mom-Jr4
Mom & Jr 4
Humpback Mom-Junior5
Mom & Jr 5
Humpbacks and Friend
Humpback Friend
Whale Under Surface
Whale Under Surface
Humpback Mom-Calf
Humpback Mom-Calf
Junior 2
Humpback Junior
Humpback Junior 2

By the way, my Olympus 3040Z digital camera in its Ikelite custom underwater case worked like magic on this adventure. The bright optics of the Olympus are perfect for these natural light shots. Within an hour of getting back to the Aggressor liveaboard diveboat, I would have downloaded the pictures, used Photoshop on them a bit, and then could take my laptop to lunch or dinner to show off my pictures. I loved the "instant" gratification. All the professional photographers on board were still waiting for that night's E-6 slide processing session!



Humpback Whale Oil Paintings by Donna S Schaffer
Encounter with Humpback Mother & Calf
Encounter with Humpback
Mother & Calf
22"x28" oil painting
Humpback Whale Looking At You
Humpback Whale
Looking At You
giclee prints available
Reflection of a Humpbank Whale Pectoral Fin
Reflection of a Humpbank
Whale Pectoral Fin
giclee prints available

The links below will take you to some of the other diving-related web pages I've created from our trips. Plus check out my other marine life oil paintings by clicking the Underwater Paintings link below.

Underwater Paintings by Donna Schaffer

Oil Paintings by Donna Schaffer

July, 2001 Pictures from our Papua New Guinea Dive Trip

Icelandic Horse Riding Trips

Other Scuba Diving Trips

What'd ya think? E-mail me!

All photographs by Donna Schaffer
Copyright 2002-2009 All rights reserved
Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.