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.

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22 Prince of Whales, Newburyport

Lovely day on the ocean! Glassy calm seas AND whales! What more could you ask for??

Halfmoon surfacing
Early in the trip, we swung around to catch a quick look at a harbor seal. This little guy was very cute but a little shy so we continued on. Next up, a few lucky passengers caught some glimpses of a solitary harbor porpoise. We didn't stop as these critters are typically quite shy and hard to get good looks at. We continued on and thanks to the Granite State from Rye Harbor who left earlier in the day, we were able to view Halfmoon, the elder male humpback whale. Halfmoon has been a new regular of Jeffreys Ledge this spring/summer!  We watched him for a bit and soon after the big scary herring fishing boat went by, Halfmoon screamed off to the east- seemingly as though the herring boat scared him off. Herring boats are very well designed to take a LOT of herring out of the ocean for important things such as cat food, fertilizer and bait for lobster traps. Unfortunately for the whales, these boats mean less food for them as they primarily feed on the herring on Jeffreys Ledge.


After following Halfmoon for a bit to the east, we decided to go in search of other whales. We eventually came across a couple of fin whales. These two were not hanging out together but instead just in the same area. Before long, we saw one of the fin whales was Fjord again! He came up close to us, giving us all a nice look at his unique dorsal fin.


Soon we saw the 2nd fin whale in the neighborhood close by. I'm not exactly sure what happened underwater next but suddenly Fjord rolled on his side when the 2nd whale (#0021) approached him and then Fjord quickly took off to the SE. From our perspective, it appeared to be some sort of territorial dispute which is odd for fin whales so I'm still not sure what went on under the waves!  After that, # 0021 began heading to the north, slowly. Interestingly, both Fjord and 0021 are adult males (most likely) who were first documented in the early 1980's!
Fjord, rolling on his side, showing us his left flipper!

#0021, first seen in 1983!
 As we followed 0021, our mate, Ryan, spotted another blow in the distance. It took some effort but finally we were able to get close to this 3rd fin whale and identify him as Dingle (#0369)! This was Dingle's first appearance of the season!
#0369, Dingle!
Now it was definitely time to head for home, and the heat from land greeted us as we got closer. At least we were able to escape it for a few hours!  Thanks to our awesome passengers today and congratulations to Ms. Dibble for not only winning our raffle, but for seeing her first whales after trying 3 times prior with no luck!

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