Blue Ocean Society's Whale Sightings

Greetings! Thanks for visiting our blog. Our staff and interns will be posting their experiences here working on whale watch boats in NH and MA.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23 Granite State

Another toasty day on land made for a great excuse to spend the day offshore in cooler temperatures in search of whale activity. With both birders and whale fanatics alike on board today we were off to spot all kinds of marine life.

We started our morning trip with a nice Minke whale as this animal circled around the area. With such calm seas we were able to keep track of this whale very easily and get some really nice looks at this animal before heading further offshore. As we got to Jeffreys Ledge we saw some splashing in the water. There was a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins ahead of us! There were approximately 50 of these whales milling about the area, taking their time swimming through the water, providing some great looks at such maneuverable creatures.

Check out the prominent white stripe on these dolphins; hence the name Atlantic white-sided dolphin!

We then ended up finding 5 Fin whales as our travels took us around areas of Jeffreys Ledge. A few of these very large mammals were being a bit challenging as they constantly were changing direction with almost every surfacing and traveling a bit while on deeper dives. Our efforts paid off in the end though as we rounded out our trip with two of these animals associated with each other.

Two Fin whales simultaneously surfacing

The even more exciting news from this pair was that we recognized them (thanks to our Fin whale Master IDer, and recently updated Fin whale Catalog on board!) we were able to positively identify these whales as #0622 and #0911! Always exciting when we get the chance to document whales returning to Jeffreys Ledge over the years, and as for #0622, multiple times during this season! We even got the surprise surfacing from these two mammals as they came up for a breath of air right alongside us. Talk about seeing the whole length of these whales; wow!!!

#0622 arising from the depths of the ocean just off our port side!

As we headed back out for our afternoon trip we were excited to see what we might come across as recently each trip has been so drastically different in whale sightings we really didn't know what to expect. Looks like today was no different. As we made our way back towards the areas where we had seen whales in the morning we ended up coming across a single Fin whale. This animal also had quite the unique dorsal fin. While we do not know who this animal is just yet, we knew it was a different whale than any of the animals we had seen during our morning trip. Just another indication of just how quickly these animals can come, or go, in just a few short hours. Take a look below at a few of the unique dorsal fins from some of our Fin whales sighted today. They really are quite different from each other after a bit of a closer inspection!

Above: Fin whale #0911 as it was sighted swimming alongside #0622 (photo below)

Above: Another single Fin whale sighted from the morning trip
Below: Our Fin whale from the afternoon trip. Definitely a different animal than our sightings from this morning!

We also were able to spend some time with yet another animal that was not seen this morning, it was Hornbill the Humpback whale. This animal appeared to be staying in the general area as each time it surfaced, it was not far from us. We also got some great looks when this whale went on a deeper dive as it was bringing its large tail up above the surface of the water each time. As Hornbill has become an "old friend" to all of us over the years, this whale is pretty infamous for taking shallow dives and not showcasing its tail so many folks enjoy seeing. Today however was definitely a different case as Hornbill did just the opposite of what we typically see from this whale: shorter dive times and lots of fluking.
We thank Hornbill for being around today, as no matter what a whale does, or does not do, it is always wonderful to be in the presence of such incredible mammals.

We had lots of familiar faces aboard our boat today so thanks for returning for another adventure out on the open ocean as we enjoy seeing not only familiar whales but familiar folks as well throughout the season! Also, congratulations to all of our first time whale watchers who joined us today. It was quite the beautiful day to be on the ocean and spend time with life out on Jeffreys Ledge!

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