• Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

  • Photo by William Tan

  • Photo by Rantje Allen

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Monthly Archives: November 2020

Pilot Whale Video

Pilot whale video from a calm day on Tomini Bay in Gorontalo made the rounds on social media. One of Miguel’s Diving staff shot the video as a large pod swam by his fishing boat.

Short-Finned Pilot Whales

The cetaceans seen in the video are Short-finned Pilot Whales. Their scientific name is Globicephala macrorhynchus. Distinguishing features include a rounded, bulbous head. Its fins are set forward on its body and point sharply back. The mouth slants upward. Mostly, its color is uniformly black. Some individuals exhibit a diagonal stripe from eye to dorsal fin and a cape. Sometimes, a lighter belly patch is visible. The body is slender but robust.

Short-finned pilot whales breaching

Short-finned Pilot Whales are among a group of marine life called blackfish. These cetaceans are mostly jet black in color. The Long-finned Pilot Whale is not found in our area, as it prefers the cold waters of the northern and southern oceans. In Gorontalo, Miguel’s Diving staff have seen other blackfish species. This includes Pygmy Killer Whale, Melon-Headed Whale and False Killer Whale. Surprisingly, Miguel’s Diving staff and guests also see Killer Whales or Orca. In addition to the pilot whale video, we have videos of orca in Gorontalo.

Human and Pilot Whale Encounters

On their days off, several of Miguel’s Diving staff venture into the deep waters off Gorontalo. Their goal is to catch Yellowfin tuna. They use traditional handline method. After a tuna is hooked, the fisherman will pull in this catch using only his skill and the strength of his arm. This will take over an hour. Typically, tuna will weigh between thirty and eighty kilos. The fisherman’s small outrigger canoe has room for only one fish at a time. This demonstrates the sustainability of their traditional method.

pilot whale video
Outrigger canoes in Gorontalo

If the fisherman pulls in his catch at sees only half a tuna, that means that a Mako shark has eaten the other half. The shark will purse the fisherman returning home with his catch to get the other half of the tuna. However, if the fisherman pulls in his tuna and sees only a string of bones, that means a Short-finned Pilot Whale has eaten the meat and eyes.

During tuna runs, after a few whales appear, they will call others. In the coming days, more and more pods of pilot whales appear in the fishing area. Numbers reach hundreds upon hundreds. When this occurs, the tuna will panic and flee the area. The fishermen are left behind, but the pilot whales will pursue. The name for his whale in Gorontalo language is paupau.

Pilot Whale Video

Recently, Boka, one of Miguel’s Diving staff, was at sea in his outrigger canoe when a pod of pilot whales began to pass. Using his cell phone, Boka shot this pilot whale video. Short-finned pilot whales do not breach often. So, the breaching seen is this video is remarkable. Also, viewers can hear the whales exhale as they breach the surface. Divers occasionally see them during surface intervals when we move the speed boat to the next dive site. For your chance to see cetaceans in Gorontalo, like pilot whales, please book your trip with us!

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