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 24, 2012

June 24 Prince of Whales, Newburyport

For those of you who are members or follow us, you may have just read our latest newsletter with my article about when is the best time to see whales. I mentioned that seeing a few fin whales side by side would be my ideal trip, and that I realized that wasn't everyone's ideal. Today was a day that I was in whale heaven even though I'm pretty sure not everyone on board agreed.

So what did we see to make me so excited?? A fin whale mother with her new calf!!!!!  And to make it even better, it was a whale I knew AND we got excellent ID photos of her calf. Awesome!!

So here is how it all went down... We were trying to look at a couple of minke whales that were being less than cooperative. Our captain claimed he saw a "very low-profile fin whale" up ahead. We go there and saw nothing for the longest time...just some distant minkes that were hard to get good looks at. Finally, the fin whale came up. I snapped a few shots but the whale was still a good 1/4 mile away. When I stopped talking long enough to zoom in on my photos, I recognized this whale immediately: #9904! I was thrilled she was back in the area as we see her nearly annually. We know she is a female because she showed up with calves in 2005 and 2008.

#9904 was only surfacing for a couple breaths before sinking below the surface. Her movements weren't consistent. Then she surfaced and from a distance it looked like she had 2 dorsal fins. Hmmm....Another breath, and we could see she had a friend along side her. But this friend was really small- her calf!!  Yay, #9904 is a mom again! So that was pretty cool. We got some distant looks but neither mom nor calf were spending much time at the surface, until it was time for us to leave. THEN, she decided to do what she is famous for and cut right across our bow! As she was approaching, we cut our engines to make it more quiet for not only us but also for her and the calf. The pair stayed up for 6 breaths, approaching us! We were finally able to get some fantastic shots of both mom and calf, and based on the shots of the calf, we will now be able to ID it in future years when it returns on its own!
#9904 and her calf just behind her!

Check out the calf's awesome chevron markings!

#9904 and calf going down

Such a phenomenal sighting!  Then to top it off, we encountered fin whale, Fjord, on our way home! He was busy traveling to the north and we were out of time so we didn't stay long, but it is always great to see one of our adoptable whales!

Fjord seen close to Cape Ann
So no, the whales were not breaching or lifting their tails in the air, but this was an incredible trip for an avid whale researcher who is so excited to add another member to the endangered fin whale family!

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