Kayaking with Humpback Whales – Duncan Murrell
Wildlife photographer Duncan Murrell talked to Bishopsteignton Probus Club about the years he spent with humpback whales in southeast Alaska. He showed spectacular photos of whales with glaciers, mountains and other breath-taking scenery in the background. The whales undertook lots of acrobatics above and below water, as well as flipping their gigantic tails. At times they appeared to choreograph their antics with each whale taking their pre-determined positions as they came up to the surface.
Local residents viewed Duncan as a crazy Englishman because he weaved his kayak around pods of up to thirty whales, each weighing up to a ton, splashing around and lobbing their tails vigorously. Their puppies were squeaking and making clicking noises with enjoyment. One fun-loving calf came up behind Duncan’s kayak and flipped his tail, soaking Duncan and his on-board equipment which he had to dry quickly with a towel.
Duncan also had encounters with wolves, moose, black bears and brown bears as he camped ashore for months at a time. He explained that you must not run away as a bear comes towards you as the bear sees this as fear and is encouraged to carry on. Once, an attacking bear stood upright and made a powerful roaring noise to which Duncan responded by vigorously waving his arms and shouting at full volume which echoed loudly in the mountain valley surrounding them. The bear turned and left rapidly.
Vice chairman Baz Carpenter thanks Duncan Murrell (right)