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, June 14, 2012

June 14 Prince of Whales, Newburyport

I feel that I may be duplicating the Granite State's post (below) as we had a very similar trip! Today's winds were higher than the forecast and the ride out to Jeffreys Ledge was a little rolly-polly. We tried to head in a direction to make the ride as comfortable as possible. When we got to an area that seemed as if it should have whales, we altered course and started seriously searching. Within minutes, we spotted a blow, about a mile to the north of our position. Initially, this whale, a fin whale, was a bit elusive. But finally, when we got a decent look at it, I knew exactly who she was- a whale that I personally haven't seen since June of 2006!  COMET!

Fin whale, Comet, showing her distinctive scar behind her dorsal fin

Comet, a fin whale first seen by Blue Ocean Society in 1997, had been a regular visitor to Jeffreys Ledge in 1997 and again in 2000. She then took a hiatus and wasn't seen again until 2005. Between 2005-2007, she was seen frequently, and as Melanie said in her post below, it was in 2007 that we learned Comet was a female! She was finally seen with a calf, which is our rudimentary way of determining gender. The past four seasons she seemed to have disappeared again. You all could probably sense my excitement, that even from a distance, I recognized this long-lost friend. Not only is Comet a whale that I first saw back when I began my career of whale research, but she is also one of Blue Ocean Society's Adopt-A-Whales!

Comet's unique marking on her left side

If you look closely, you can see a small notch in Comet's dorsal fin- another identifying feature!

We followed Comet for about 45 minutes until our friends on the Granite State arrived to view her as well. At that point we were out of time and made the much calmer trip back to Newburyport. Thanks to all of our inquisitive and interested passengers! You were a very hardy bunch!

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