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.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 28 Prince of Whales

Two great trips today!
Our morning trip welcomed folks from Mass Audubon on our Whales and Seabirds trip. As Dr. Dave pointed out all the seabirds, I talked about the marine mammals and fish. With the vast amount of life in and above the ocean, seldom was there a quiet moment.

We began by seeing a couple of minke whale close to shore. These whales were acting a bit aloof so we continued on, passing by a harbor seal in the process. Soon we spotted a flopping fin- an ocean sunfish!! This was our first sunfish of the year and we got amazing looks at it through the glassy calm water.
As we continued offshore, we got a report from the Granite State of some fin whales in our path. We finally spotted one that was surfacing regularly. We got a few decent looks but I was unsure of who this whale was. It looked very similar to a mother whale we had seen recently but not quite. After many surfacings and great close looks, I was still ignoring my better judgement. I knew this wasn't Mom #9904 but it looked really similar.

Our whale today- still unknown
#9904- the whale I initially thought it could be!
 As we watched the huge fin whale, a blue shark was spotted close by. As the shark turned, we got fantastic views of the bright blue coloration and very pointed fins! This was the first of several blue sharks spotted during our trip home! Also seen as we were watching the fin whale was a small minke whale that scooted by us, displaying it's pointed nose and white flipper patches.

Soon it was time to head for home. As we picked up speed, Dr. Dave saw some splashing in front of us...dolphins!!   The Atlantic white sided dolphins were quite active and gave us quite the show. 

Northern Gannet
Great Shearwaters
We also saw a plethora of pelagic bird species throughout the trip including great, sooty and Cory's shearwaters, Wilson's storm petrels, northern gannets, common terns and ruddy turnstones to name a few!

The afternoon trip started with an early report of dolphins very close to shore so we headed more north than east on our quest. These little toothed whales were also very active, surfing through our wake and leaping off our bow.

Just a bit past the dolphins we spotted a minke whale which quickly turned into 3 minke whales, all in the same area!! Very cool! Minkes can be erratic but these were awesome, frequently coming up close to us!


Minke surfacing!
 Several harbor seals and one gray seal were spotted as well and we even got a quick look at a blue shark!

During the trek home, we swung by the Isles of Shoals- a treat for us as they normally aren't close to our trackline to and from Jeffreys Ledge. Even with the overcast skies, the islands were beautiful.
White Island Light

Harbor porpoise mom and calf!

 Just when we thought we were done watching marine mammals, Captain Billy saw some harbor porpoises! These were quite cooperative and not as shy as they tend to be. It is a rare occasion to photography the elusive porpoise!

With all the fantastic sightings of the day, I think my favorite moment was at the end of the day when I was moving my car in our crowded parking lot. Walking to my car, a young blonde child tucked in the back seat of a NJ-plated car stopped me and said thanks for showing him his first dolphins! It's the little things in life, sometimes quite literally, that keep us all going!

Keep in touch! Become a Fan on Facebook || Follow Us On Twitter

No comments: