While gazing into the ocean from our ship, I spotted something ‘floating’ in the water. I grabbed pictures before I was able to determine what it was and then it was gone. Checking the images on the camera, I was completely unaware of what I had captured. It looked like a small whale, a calf, with its mother close behind. One blow-hole took it out of the baleen whale category and it was too small. It was brown, with a mark on its body and a dorsal fin placed well back. I checked my ‘Marine Mammals of the World’ app and couldn’t find a definite identification but I kept coming back to the 7 metre Cuvier’s beaked whale. It was the wrong colour and its head should have been white but then I found the young can be very different in their early years. Now I’m 90% convinced it is a Cuvier’s, a whale that is fairly widespread but not often seen. Not a great deal is known about it, but this picture puts its breeding area where I found it, off the coast of Costa Rica in the Northern Pacific. It is a deep diver, some research documenting it as the deepest diver of all cetaceans with one individual tracked to almost 3000 metres and staying below the surface for over 2 hours. This was a great find.
(Since posting this, I’ve had a message from the Centro de Investigaciòn de Cetáceos CEIC-Costa Rica confirming it is indeed an adult and calf Cuvier’s beaked whale)
The Costa Rica Cetacean Research centre have also confirmed the identity of the ‘fish’ as a sailfish.