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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 23, Granite State

Sometimes it can be the variety of whales that makes a trip or it can be one whale that makes a trip...Today, we experienced both! Variety is the spice of life and we had quite the variety on both trips.

This morning, we were lucky enough to encounter 5 different species of baleen whales, a rarity on Jeffrey's Ledge! We had minke, fin, sei, humpback, and an extremely rare Northern Right whale. Spending quality time with all of these whales throughout our morning was fantastic and having a large crowd on board, made it that more enjoyable! Being able to share our excitement about marine life to our passengers is always a pleasure, and what a trip it turned out to be!
Here is a photo of fin whale #9904, first seen in 1999 and this whale is a known female who's last calf was in 2008! I wonder when she will bring new life to Jeffrey's ledge again?

At one point while watching our fin whale, another whale surface right next to this whale and we thought it may be a calf, but this whale has been seen several times this season and has been by itself every time. As we continued to watch it we realized it was a Sei whale swimming right next to the fin whale. One sei whale turned into two and before I realized it the Fin whale surfaced in between the two sei whales! It was very unusual to see, but awesome at the same time. Here is one of our sei whales from the morning!

We decided to venture further to the east to see what else may be in store for us and we stumbled across a Humpback whale. This humpback was identified as Obelus, a 3 year old humpback who was born to Echo in 2008. This whale was taking short dive intervals and stayed along the surface to a long period of time, enabling us to get great looks at this whale and it was a great way to end our morning trip.

As we left for the afternoon trip, we headed to the same area we were in the morning, hoping for some of the same luck we had in the morning. As we approached the Ledge, we found a nice pod of toothed whales, atlantic white sided dolphins! These active whales kept us quite entertained and what a nice way to start our afternoon trip!

As we made our way further off shore, we saw several whales throughout our travels. We had 2 sei whales in the area, along with several fin whales as well. As we tried to get a few looks at a few different whales in the area, they seemed to be taking long dive intervals and when they were at the surface, they were changing direction quite frequently making it a difficult task. We love having multiple whales in the area, but on occasion, it can be difficult to assess which ones to look at and whales do not always cooperate. They are wild animals afterall and we can never perdict their behavior. Some of the whales must have had travelling on their minds and were most likely looking for more food in the area.

As we were trying to figure out which whales to stay with, we spotted several other spouts on the horizon. We decided to try our luck and investigate what may be out there...and I'm gad we did!

We found a young adult humpback whale, and we decided to see what would happen with this whale. As we were waiting for the whale to resurface, it did so shortly thereafter right next to us off our right side. The whale was heading in our direction, so we shut down our engines and continued to watch this whale as it exhaled, then went on a shallow dive and swam underneath our boat. When whales dive under the boat, they can show up on the other side, or change direction while underneath the water and show back up on the same side they went down on. As we were waiting and looking around for this whale, people on the upperdeck started pointing down towards the water off the left side...then suddenly one of our crew members yelled that it was right underneath us off the left side at 9 o'clock! Literally, this whale was right underneath the boat, simply hanging there for everyone to see! It surfaced slowly and exhaled on everyone aboard! What an amazing sight! We were able to identify this whale as Obelus! It was the same humpback from the morning trip and this whale seemed to be very curious about us! Obelus continued to swim underneath us and switched sides allowing everyone aboard to enjoy this unbelievable experience. As I said earlier, sometimes all it takes is one whale to give you an experience of a lifetime!

Thank you to everyone who joined us today! While spotting the rarest of the baleen whales during the morning, a northern right whale, and having a close encounter with a humpback in the afternoon...what a day it turned out to be!

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