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.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

June 10 Prince of Whales, Newburyport

Awesome day on the ocean! We could not have asked for a better day. Several humpback whales, a couple minkes darting by, and a special appearance by another huge basking shark! Perfect!

We began our trip by seeing some large "explosions" on the horizon- at least 5 miles ahead of us. We were pretty certain that the ocean doesn't just explode on its own and knew that this was the sign of a very active, and large, whale! As we approached, the explosions continued but now we could see specifically what was creating them- Two humpback whales, Clamp and her calf!  For our blog followers, you know that we saw this pair yesterday afternoon and they were sleeping! Today was a very different day. The calf repeatedly jumped out of the water while mother Clamp just hung out. It was a beautiful sight!

A curious and energetic young humpback whale!
As we watched this pair play around, we spotted a large fin nearby. We decided to leave the humpbacks and check it out. What we found was a huge basking shark- second largest species of shark in the world!! At first it was shy but then decided to come over and check us out! This was one big critter!
Basking Shark
Off in the distance were a couple more spouts so we continued on. To my happy surprise was our next whale- one of my favorites- a humpback named Owl! She is also one of our adopt-a-whales and we see her nearly every year! She was distinctive even from a distance due to the large scar on her back (likely caused by a ship strike when she was young). Now, at 26 years old, she is doing better than ever!
Owl's flukes
Owl's large scar
As we watched Owl, we saw another humpback in the area. This was Pregunta, another female humpback!

Sadly, now it was time to go home. We started to go and saw a minke whale scoot by quickly. Also we were passing by several huge patches of bait fish, likely small herring (a humpback's favorite meal).  Just a bit to the south, we saw another spout. Sure it was time to go but curiosity got the better of us and we went to check it out. After some searching, and several low-angled looks at the flukes we finally determined this last humpback whale to be Halfmoon, a 34 year old male! Halfmoon appeared to be feeding as he would race to a patch of fish, dive down, blow a cloud of bubbles around the fish, and then come up in the middle of the bubbles and fish! Must be lunch time!

Halfmoon feeding in a bubble cloud

Bait fish at the surface!
Another minke whale scooted by and now it was really time for us to go.  Thanks to our wonderful passengers who shared this lovely day with us, and congratulations to Roger for winning our Whale Adoption raffle!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dianne for a wonderful blog and a wonderful day! There are always surprises each year we go out! Mary Ann C.