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北海道・知床で【ホエールウォッチング】②:シャチの大群に出会えたよ! (Whale watching at Rausu, Shiretoko Peninsula, Hokkaido)

6月8~14日に、一般社団法人プレスマンユニオン様にお声がけいただき、北海道は知床へ取材に行ってきました。前回に続いて、知床観光船アルランの根室海峡クルーズ&ホエールウォッチングについてレポートします!

I visited the Shiretoko Peninsula, a World Heritage site in northeastern Hokkaido, during June 8-14. I'll continue from my previous entry and report on the whale-watching cruise in the Nemuro Strait.

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知床羅臼の宿まるみが所有、運営している、根室海峡ホエールウォッチング船「アルラン三世」で羅臼港を出発して30~40分ほどが経ったころ、相泊地区沖でシャチがいるとの連絡が入りました。

We took "Aruran Sansei (Aruran III)," the whale-watching boat owned by Marumi Hotel Shiretoko-Rausu. It was about 30-40 minutes after departure when we heard the news that killer whales have been spotted off the coast of Aidomari district.

ざわめく船内。高橋船長が指す方向を目を皿のようにして見ていると、少し離れた船のそばに、黒い三角の物体が水面から突き出ているのが確認できました。シャチだっ!!

Of course, we all got really excited all of a sudden. I mean, who wouldn't be?! As we stared restlessly toward the direction Takahashi-san -- the captain of the boat -- pointed at, we saw a black, triangular object sticking out of the water surface. A killer whale!

夢中で写真を撮っていて、ふと気づくと、私たちの船の近くにもシャチがきていました。こんなに至近距離で見られるなんて!

We were all busy taking pictures, no wonder it took us a while to notice that a group of killer whales swam right by our boat. I didn't think I'd see them up so close!

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私たちの船によってきたシャチ数頭は、船に寄り添うようにして泳いだり、船の下を通って反対側へ出てみたりと、とてもフレンドリーな様子を見せてくれました。子どもがいるからだよ、と高橋船長。子シャチは好奇心が旺盛なので、船と遊ぶようなしぐさをよく見せるのだそうです。

The killer whales spent quite some time swimming side by side with our boat, occasionally diving, passing underneath the boat and coming up on the opposite side. "They're friendly, because there's a baby orca," said Takahashi-san. Apparently, baby orcas are very curious and tend to come near boats, thinking they can play together.

船すれすれのところを泳ぐシャチたち。水がきれいなので、シャチの白い部分がくっきり見えます。おかげで、水面に上がってくるタイミングをしっかり見計らうことができました!

Because the water is clear, you can easily tell where the killer whales are -- their white parts really stand out. This made it easy for us to take pictures, since we could tell when they're about to come up to the surface.

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潮吹きも激写!それにしても、白と黒のコントラストが美しい。

A killer whale on the right is blowing water. I love watching the black and white color pattern.

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たまに、こうして仰向けになって、尾びれを水面にバシャバシャと打ちつけて遊ぶ様子も確認できました。

Occasionally, we could see them lying on their back, with tail fin raised above the water. They were moving the fin up and down, making splashes -- they seemed to be having a very good time :)

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別の船がくると、今度はそちらに集まって愛想を振りまく(?)シャチたち。なかなかサービス精神が旺盛です。どちらかというと、新しいおもちゃを見つけた、という感じかな。

To me, they appeared to be quite service-minded too. For example, when another boat approached, they left us and swam toward it. Or, maybe, it's similar to when a child finds another toy and immediately runs to get it.

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このように、子連れのシャチのグループはわりとフレンドリーなのですが、大人のオスと思われる一匹狼(シャチだけど)はそうではありませんでした。

But, we also noticed that this friendly attitude is only displayed by groups of killer whales with babies. Later on, we saw what appeared to be a huge, male killer whale all by himself.

私たちの船に向かって突進してくる大きなシャチ。ラスボス的な威圧感。

It was rushing toward us at a great speed. I felt like I was inside an RPG game, facing the final boss for the first time.

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船をよけると、あっという間に泳ぎ去っていってしまいました。船と戯れるとか、そういうサービスは一切なし。

It cleverly dodged our boat and quickly swam away. It didn't at all slow down or stop by to see what we are.

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今回は文章は少なめ、写真多めで記事を作っていますが、その理由はとにかく感動したから。シャチにしてもハシボソミズナギドリにしても、すごい迫力でした。感動の連続で、船のあちこちを駆け回って撮影していたにもかかわらず、まったく船酔いしなかった。
※今回は波がなく、あまり揺れませんでしたが、船酔いしやすい方は乗船前に酔い止めを服用することをおすすめします。

I'm purposely not writing a lot this time, because I wanted to share all the amazing and fantastic things I saw through pictures. The killer whales and short-tailed shearwaters were truly dynamic, to say the least. I was so amazed and was running around the boat constantly taking pictures -- I thought I'd get seasick, but that didn't happen at all.
* This was probably also due to the fact that the waves were quite calm that day. If you're prone to motion sickness, I suggest you take preventive medicines before going on the boat.

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シャチやハシボソミズナギドリ、もう少しあとの季節に見られるマッコウクジラやツチクジラなどが、ここ根室海峡に集まる理由はただ一つ。春先にロシアから押し寄せる流氷に含まれる植物性のプランクトンです。

In addition to killer whales and short-tailed shearwaters, various species of whales -- such as sperm whales and Baird's beaked whales -- can be seen in the Nemuro Strait. The sole reason for that is the presence of phytoplankton, which is contained in the sea ice that forms near the Amur River in Russia. This sea ice travels toward the Shiretoko Peninsula in winter and stays there for several months.

流氷が春に溶け出すと、爆発的に増えるプランクトン。これを狙って動物性のプランクトンが集まり、今度はそれを食べる小魚が、更に大型の魚や海鳥が、そしてクジラやシャチが…という風にたくさんの生き物が姿を現すのです。

As the temperature starts rising and sea ice begins melting in spring, phytoplanktons reproduce rapidly. These provide food for zooplanktons, which in turn attract numerous species of fish as well as seabirds. Whales and orcas occupy the top of this food web.

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そして、アルラン三世は、羅臼でもっとも早くホエールウォッチングクルーズを始めた船。高橋船長は長年の経験から、どの地点に動物たちが現れるかをよくご存じなので、一頭も見られない…という日はほとんどないそうです。ちなみに、仮に何も見られなかった場合は、次回の乗船を半額にする特典や、羅臼昆布のお土産を用意してくれるとか。ほぼ確実に動物を見せてあげられるという強い自信を持っているからこそ、こんなサービスがあるんだな、と思いました。

The boat we took, the Aruran III, was the first to offer whale-watching cruise in the town of Rausu. Its captain, Takahashi-san, has an extensive knowledge of where animals appear based on his experience, so it's rare to be onboard and see nothing. If you happen to be unlucky and saw no animals, Marumi Hotel offers a 50% discount on the next cruise -- or, you can take back some Rausu kombu (sea kelp), known to be highly valuable and pricey. The fact that these services exist shows that the boat prides itself on being able to offer its passengers an ultimate whale-watching experience.

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ちなみに私、知床に来たのは今回が2回目なのですが、前回は知床半島の反対側、ウトロを中心にまわったので、ホエールウォッチングはしませんでした。アルラン三世に乗船して、海上から知床半島を眺めたり、動物たちが織りなすダイナミックな光景を見たりできて、もう一度知床に来られてよかったと、心から思いました!

This was actually my second time visiting Shiretoko, but most of my last trip was spent on the opposite side of the peninsula, around the town of Utoro. Taking part in the whale-watching cruise was a good enough reason to revisit Shiretoko -- not only was I able to enjoy all the dynamic scenes played out by animals, the boat experience was also a perfect way to take in all the beauty of this pristine peninsula.

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根室海峡ホエールウォッチング船「アルラン三世」
(Nemuro Strait whale-watching cruise "Aruran III")
運営 (Operated by):知床羅臼の宿まるみ (Marumi Hotel Shiretoko-Rausu)
北海道目梨郡羅臼町八木浜町24
24 Yagihama-cho, Rausu-cho, Menashi-gun, Hokkaido Prefecture
TEL: 0153-88-1313
http://shiretoko-rausu.com/

定期航路(5~10月) Regular operation: May-October
羅臼港午前9時発、11時半帰着予定(午後に臨時便が出ることもあり)
Depart from Rausu Port at 9 a.m.; return to port at 11:30 a.m. (there may be additional cruise in the afternoon)
羅臼港・まるみ専用のアルラン三世観光船乗り場:羅臼町船見町6
"Aruran III" boarding deck at Rausu Port: 6 Funami-cho, Rausu-cho
大人8,000円(→まるみ宿泊者7,200円)、子ども4,000円(→まるみ宿泊者3,600円)
Adult: 8,000 yen (7,200 yen if you stay at Marumi Hotel); Child: 4,000 yen (3,600 yen if you stay at Marumi Hotel)

※当日乗船も可、事前に予約がベター (Can board without reservation, but if possible book in advance)
※10名以上の団体は1割引き、学生団体は2割引き (10% discount for group with 10 or more people; 20% discount for group of students)
※旅客定員:67名 (Boat capacity: 67 people)
※天候不順による運休あり (The boat may not operate in bad weather conditions)
※車で来ていないまるみ宿泊客は、宿〜羅臼港を宿の車で送迎してもらえます (Marumi will drive their guests -- those who didn't come by car -- to and from Rausu Port)

[PR]
by neko_fukurou | 2017-06-20 13:44 | 旅:北海道 | Comments(0)

アメリカに11年に暮らしていた、バイリンガルライター、翻訳者、編集者。UCLA卒。食や旅、歴史や文化、演劇(特に宝塚歌劇)について、日記風のカジュアルな英語と日本語の両方でつづっています。Japanese-English food and travel writer/translator based in Tokyo.


by neko_fukurou (aya satoh)
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