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Images: Following Whales Up a Creek

Windsurfers in California's Sacramento River Delta watched a humpback whale calf suddenly breach nearby. A mother and calf, straying far from their normal migratory route in the Pacific, swam far up the river in fresh water, triggering a multi-agency rescue operation. The whales swam back downriver after two weeks, passing ships, boats, and windsurfers on the way. (Photo by Sarah Wilkin, NOAA)

WHOI Marine mammal biologist and veterinarian Michael Moore has developed numerous techniques for working with whales from small open boats, including mechanisms for delivering medicines to whales. This spring in the Sacramento River Delta, California, he aided in the first delivery of antibiotics to free-swimming wild whales, using a device he is developing. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

For two weeks in May, mother and calf humpback whales veered into San Francisco Bay and swam through bays and past bridges of the Sacramento River Delta, ending up 90 miles inland in the Port of Sacramento before turning back downriver. The whales returned to the Pacific Ocean at night, and could no longer be monitored. (Map by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

The mother and calf humpbacks, nicknamed "Delta" and "Dawn", were wounded with gashes, without food, and in completely fresh water that degraded their skin. Their plight captured international interest and prompted the first successful injection of wild whales with antibiotics. Needles from the injection (visible in the larger whale) remain in place for hours before dropping out. (Photo by Jamison Smith, NOAA)