Weekly Whale Feature: 'No Tail Charlie'

Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010

Why the name? Most people have never seen its tail.

Name: No Tail Charlie / NOAA No. not known.

Gender: Male (this information has not been confirmed).

When to look: This whale can be spotted between the months of May and June.

Where: Anywhere between Auke Bay, Tee Harbor, south of Shelter Island, Barlow Islands and Outer point. This whale is especially common in the water close to shore, from Tee Harbor to Auke Bay.

Markings: Two clues will help you recognize this whale: First, it does not show its Fluke (tail) when it dives. Second, it has a very distinguished dorsal fin which is big and somewhat flat. The dorsal fin also looks a bit beat up, with white marks running over the top of it.

Behavior: "No Tail Charlie" is called because it almost never shows its tail. It arrives in Juneau waters in early spring and usually departs before July. I have seen "No Tail" with another whale one time; they were feeding near shore in the Tee Harbor/Lena Cove area. No Tail has been seen lunge feeding alone many times in the Lena Beach, Auke Village Recreation Area and Coghlan Island areas.

Notes: My guess is that No Tail Charlie is an older male. He can be easily confused with other whales that do not show there flukes when they dive. He's a fun whale to watch because he likes feeding close to shore, offering those who don't have a boat, good whale watching opportunities.

• The "Weekly Whale Feature" is compiled by Jay Beedle, a longtime Juneau resident who makes his home on Shelter Island. He is a photographer and co-owns Harv and Marv's Outback Alaska which offers whale watching tours during summer months.

For more information about his photography contact Gretchen Pence at gretchenpence@islandimagesalaska.com or at 789-0089.

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