Humpback Whale Encounter

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In the spring and early summer in the northern North Atlantic, a small herring-like fish called capelin comes inshore to spawn and many larger animals have a feast. During our trip north we had seen several pods of humpback whales feeding on the capelin, but only in the distance.

Two days ago, while threading our way through the intricate passage into Aasiaat at the south western corner of Disko Bay, Greenland, we were treated to a wonderful close encounter with a family of three—a great privilege. We stopped Morgan’s Cloud and for nearly half an hour the whales executed a series of shallow dives, many in unison. Sometimes they surfaced as much as half a mile away and sometimes much closer.

Hearing their sonorous breaths and seeing their magnificent tails soar into the air as they dive has always been one of the sights guaranteed to make us euphoric! How fortunate we are to experience such a special event surrounded by Greenland’s awesome scenery.

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for 25 years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 20 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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