Photo: R. Soley
Paciencia’s 190 day tracking route (17,663 km)
March 31 – April 03, 2020
On April 3, 2020, Paciencia’s tag stopped transmitting, after she had traveled almost 15,000 kilometers over 190 days. Paciencia was still feeding in the same section of the continental shelf that offered abundant food, off the coast of Chubut Province. Another female, Cebollita, also remained in the same area for more than two months. Maybe both mothers will spend more time there feeding before returning to the gulfs of the Valdés Peninsula to wean their calves…
March 24 – March 30, 2020
Now moving slowly southwestward, Paciencia and her calf continue feeding in the same sector of the continental shelf they were in last week. In previous years, some mothers equipped with depth recording transmitters dove to depths of 40 meters for 5-minute lapses in this same area, while a few ventured even deeper, to 150 meters.
March 24 – March 30, 2020
March 17 – March 23, 2020
After exploring a section of the continental slope, Paciencia and her calf turned northwest, traveling until they joined Cebollita in an area over the continental shelf where she has been for months. These two mother-calf pairs are only 40 kilometers apart.
March 11 – March 16, 2020
Paciencia began traveling northwards this week, the same as Afuerita and the two solitary individuals we continue tracking. With the Malvinas (Falkland) Current moving in their direction, mother and calf are traveling up the continental slope to the area off the Golfo San Jorge called the Blue Hole.
March 04 – March 10, 2020
After a brief stay in a section of the continental shelf close to the continental slope, Paciencia and her calf swam southwards until they found an area with food 300 kilometers from the continent at the latitude of the far south of Golfo San Jorge.
February 25 – March 03, 2020
Paciencia and Aconcagua, her gray calf, have found food close to the continental slope a bit north of the latitude of Golfo San Jorge.
February 19 – February 24, 2020
After crossing over the continental slope, Paciencia and her calf returned to the shallower waters of the continental shelf, where another mother (Cebollita) has been feeding for weeks.
February 11 – February 18, 2020
Paciencia and her calf traveled 900 kilometers west this week. They are now on the edge of the continental slope at the latitude of Golfo San Jorge. This area, called “The Blue Hole”, is intensively fished commercially for Illex squid.
February 07 – February 10, 2020
After a month in the deep ocean basin, Paciencia and Aconcagua began traveling westwards.
January 29 – February 06, 2020
Always focused in the same area, Paciencia and her calf have remained feeding in an ocean basin whirlpool for more than 27 days.
January 21 – January 28, 2020
This week Paciencia and her calf continued to take advantage of the abundance of food provided by the clockwise ocean whirlpools present some 1,000 kilometers east of Peninsula Valdés.
January 12 – January 20, 2020
Paciencia and her calf are in an area of deep water where satellite images show a clockwise oceanic “eddy” (an ocean current which spins in a clockwise direction). In contrast to counterclockwise oceanic eddies, like the one that Diana is using to feed, the clockwise eddies pull nutrients up from the deep waters at the center of the whirlpool, concentrating the plankton and small crustaceans which are food for the whales.
January 06 – January 11, 2020
Paciencia and her calf swam in a small counterclockwise circle in the exact spot where oceanographic parameters show an eddy or oceanic whirlpool in an oceanic basin off Peninsula Valdés.
December 29, 2019 – January 05, 2020
Paciencia and Aconcagua were feeding in the area they arrived last week. At present mother and calf are traveling eastwards, always at the same latitude.
December 22 – December 28, 2019
During the past week Paciencia and her calf Aconcagua traveled 250 kilometers north. They are now about 500 kilometers southeast of Mar del Plata. Will they continue swimming in the same direction? If this were to happen they would reach the shallow waters of the continental shelf and thereafter the mouth of the Río de la Plata (River Plate).
December 16 – December 21, 2019
After swimming in a circle in a counterclockwise direction, Paciencia and her calf Aconcagua swam in a clockwise circle. Like Afuerita, they may be using circular ocean currents to find nutritious food.
December 05 – December 15, 2019
Paciencia and calf, after a counterclockwise change of course, continue traveling in the same sector of very deep waters, and are now a little farther north from where they were 10 days ago. This extensive area is probably very rich in food and important for the whales which reproduce in the area of Peninsula Valdés.
November 26 – December 04, 2019
It seems that Paciencia and Aconcagua found a good area with food in the Atlantic basin waters since they have remained in the same zone all this past week. At present they are close to Afuerita and her calf.
November 17 – November 25, 2019
On November 17th Paciencia and her calf Aconcagua (which means in Quechua “white sentry”) left for new destinations, after having been within the protected waters of Golfo Nuevo for more than 52 days. They traveled 430 kilometers towards the southeast, then turned eastwar.
November 10 – November 16, 2019
Paciencia and her calf Aconcagua (the name given to her calf) traveled from the area north of the mouth of the gulf to the southern coast close to Punta Ninfas. They made their first excursion into the open ocean, and then returned to the center of Golfo Nuevo. At this time they are close to Morro Nuevo, inside the protected waters of the gulf.
November 2 – November 9, 2019
Paciencia and her calf, which was identified as a male by the tracking team, continue swimming inside Golfo Nuevo, traveling from the south to the north in the vicinity of the Ameghino Isthmus, from where they later swam east. They are now in the area of Punta Cormoranes.
October 27 – November 1, 2019
Paciencia and her calf spent the entire week touring around Golfo Nuevo. Two days ago they were seen by the tracking team. Paciencia, a cautious mother, did not let her curious calf to get too close to the tracking team’s boat. Today they are close to Punta Conscripto, on the southern coast inside the gulf.
October 16 – October 26, 2019
Paciencia and her calf continue inside Golfo Nuevo. They have traveled from the area of Puerto Pirámides and Punta Cormoranes to the southern coast of the gulf, and from there on to the very deep areas of the gulf, where whales make long, deep immersions, during which they possibly feed. While the mother makes these deep immersions, her calf remains on the surface, waiting for her.
September 26 – October 15, 2019
Since her satellite transmitter was attached this mother and her calf have remained close to the northern coast of Golfo Nuevo, between Puerto Pirámides and Puerto Madryn. In the 1990’s this zone was declared a protected area which established restrictions on navigation in the area during the months when whales are present. These restrictions are meant to prevent collisions with and disturbances of the whale mothers at the end of winter and during the spring while they are feeding their calves.