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.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 6 Granite State

October already??? Wow. That can only mean one thing... we are just about done with our 2011 whale watching season. However, while we are beginning to wrap up the year, the whales have continued to keep us on our toes. The weather has been less than ideal recently which has been keeping us planted firmly on solid land but our past couple trips to Jeffreys Ledge has continued to showcase the variety Jeffreys always seems to offer. We've had some unexpected sightings in more ways than one!

On September 27 we had quite the cetacean sightings. At least 5 Fin whales were spotted along with a Humpback whale that made it's first appearance on Jeffreys Ledge this season. Viper, a whale that has spent a lot of time a bit further north with our whale watching friends at Bar Harbor Whale Watch over the course of this year's feeding season, was spotted. Viper was doing a bit of traveling but still allowed us a chance to spend some time with this particular whale.

Viper of course was not the only surprise. Little did we know what else was lurking around the water and this time it was not even a baleen whale, it was a toothed-whale. To be more specific, about 20-25 of these toothed-whales. We happened to come across a pod of Common dolphins!!!

Common Dolphins

This sighting marks only the 2nd time EVER the Granite State has seen these animals. Half of our crew had never even seen these cetaceans before and we've spent A LOT of time on the water. What an incredible surprise!!! These animals look a bit different than our usual suspects of dolphins (namely Atlantic white-sided dolphins) and boy were these whales quick.

Common dolphins above vs. Atlantic white-sided dolphins below (photo taken earlier this season)

If you thought white-sided dolphins were tricky to get photographs of, these whales were even more unexpectedly zip-zooming in every which direction around the boat.

Common Dolphins jumping clear out of the water!

Nature, mysterious and wondrous, always has a way of unexpectedly surprising us.

Unique coloration pattern of a Common Dolphin above vs. an Atlantic white-sided dolphin below (photo taken earlier this season)

Today continued with more surprises in and around Jeffreys Ledge as we finally got out on the water for the first time for the month of October. We ended up carefully maneuvering through an area where lots of endangered Right whales were around. Scattered out in the distance in so many different directions were those distinct v-shaped blows and smooth, dark tails, known as a Right whale. A few areas where these whales were occupying included lots of white water and knew a surface active group (SAG) was in effect. Of course Right whales weren't the only animals utilizing Jeffreys Ledge today. A pair of Fin whales were found swimming along together.

The dorsal fins of our Fin whales. Note the animal below has ever so slightly a more "bent" or angled dorsal fin compared to the more "triangular" or upright fin above.
These massively large animals were so graceful as they synchronized their surfacings together; a feat that is quite impressive when you think just one of these animals can reach lengths over 60ft and weigh 60+ tons!

Our Fin whales at the surface together

We are down to our last weekend of the 2011 Season. The weather finally seems like it wants to cooperate for us so feel free to get your last "whale fix" and go whale watching in the next few days this holiday weekend!

Fin whale getting a good breath of air at the surface

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