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, August 20, 2011

August 20 Granite State

Today was all about the fastest whales in the ocean! This morning we spent time with 3 large Fin whales, including a pair that surfaced right alongside the boat, as we all a trio of Sei whales swimming around the ocean together. Sei whales are THE fastest swimming whales in all the world's oceans, reaching burst of speeds over 30+mph! The Fin whale comes in a close 2nd, as these large mammals can reach burst of speeds traveling over 25mph! Thankfully all our whales were not utilizing their powerful abilities and remained relatively close by giving our passengers some great looks at these animals throughout our trips today.

This morning we started our trip with a very familiar whale. It was Dingle the Fin whale.

Dingle the Fin whale
This animal was first sighted in 2003, unseen in 2004, but has been documented by Blue Ocean Society affiliates on Jeffreys Ledge every year to date since 2005! How cool is that?!?! Dingle made it's debut to Jeffreys Ledge earlier this season (June 20th to be exact) but it has been over a month since Dingle was last sighted by the Granite State (spotted on July 13th). We may never know where Dingle ventured off to for the past month but we are thrilled to know this animal has returned back to the Ledge to continue to look for and eat food.

Dingle surfacing for a breath of air

Some of our other sightings this morning included an Ocean Sunfish and two other Fin whales. This sunfish, as these creatures always seem to do, had no fear and swam right on over towards the boat today! At least everyone on board got a chance to get some close up looks at such a weird looking fish. Even though this fish didn't spend too much time on the surface of the water, it was definitely one of the larger sunfish we have seen this season.

One large Ocean sunfish just underneath the water

As for our Fin whale pair, while spending time with them they surfaced just off the port side of the boat as you could really get a sense of just how large this species truly is!
One of our Fin whale surfacing for a breath of air before continuing on a deeper dive!

The second Fin whale in the pair was showcasing a lot of its body as a few times when it went on a deeper dive a large majority of it's tailstock was seen above the surface of the water. At one point the very top portion of its tail was just visible on the ocean's edge! We definitely do not see that all the time when watching these very large creatures!

Sequence of a very strong arch in this animal's body as it goes on a deeper dive. In the last photo you can actually see the outline of this whale's tail at the surface!

The trip ended with a few other baleen whales, Sei whales to be exact, moving through the water together. Even though we do not have a Sei whale catalog (but think one might be started this winter!!!) you could definitely distinguish these 3 whales from each other. Check out the very unique dorsal fin shapes and body markings seen on our trio of Sei whales:

This afternoon we were back out and looking for whales. We ended up with the same area from the morning and came across 2 Fin whales. Once again it turned out that the two whales we spent time with this afternoon were not any of the ones spotted from the morning!

Above: Fin whale #0828. This animal is very distinct with its uniquely-shaped dorsal fin and scar pattern on its tailstock.

Below: This Fin whale is a bit harder to distinguish from other Fin whales as it has rather a generic-shaped dorsal fin and only small subtle scars along its body.

What a quick shifting/movement/rearranging of these large whales recently! Same spot and completely different individuals. Awesome.

Seems to be anybody's guess as to what we may come across tomorrow!

Keep in touch!Become a Fan on Facebook || Follow Us On Twitter

No comments: