1-2-3-Whales!

Left Bangtaboon pier at around 8.45 a.m. We had two foreigners and several photographers on board. Our passengers looked like they really mean business, being well-equipped with the ultimate ‘bazooka’ lens.

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Ready for the day!

The day itself looked promising. The sea appeared calm and the wind felt absolutely great brushing against our faces.

But business at Bangtaboon wasn’t simple because it wasn’t until afternoon that we were able to see whales come by. We even missed our usual lunch session to watch the two whales surfacing the sea with their blows.

To our biggest excitement, it was Mae Khao Niew (แม่ข้าวเหนียว) or ‘the sticky rice mama’, and its unnamed newborn calf, about a month old by its side. Apparently this is the first time someone was able to identify this calf! However, they only stayed with us for around half an hour.

It took us about half an hour later for us to get back on track again. We saw lunge feeding activity happening from a distance so we followed the trail for the next ten minutes.

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In pursuit of the whales, the ‘Chomwhales’ way.

When we got closer, we were trailing behind not one, but three whales! The two whales we were able to identify by its missing baleen. It was clearly Mae Kanya and Jao Maruay joining today’s grandiose meal.

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At one point there was a moment where things gets so intense with three whales all lunge feeding at the same time, with hundreds of very delighted birds circling around for their massive buffet party. The situation became interesting that we completely forgot about having our own meals.

My favorite highlight was when one of the whales appeared at the bow, lunge feeding at us at a very close distance!

All eyes and focus on the three whales on this particular day. All the photographers on board return with memory card full of awesome whale photos, and a delightful memories about this trip. I can tell just by the way our passengers share their pictures they took on their way back to the pier with a lot of enthusiasm, a treat they have rightfully earned from this trip.

About the author

Pairat Temphairojana (Pai) is working as a journalist in Thailand. It was in 2009 when he first saw blue whales in a whale-watching tour in Alaska – and upon hearing that such majestic creatures like the Bryde’s whales is populating in the gulf of Thailand, he did not hesitate to join as a whale-watching guide in Thailand. He believes that having proper standards and regulations for a safer whale watching activities in the gulf of Thailand is necessary and can lead to a more sustainable tourism for the locals living in the region. Pai will be regularly joining us on board as a field observer and a reporter on our frequent visits to the Gulf of Thailand.

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