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, July 5, 2012

July 5 Prince of Whales

As many folks may have been nursing a post-holiday hangover, we were up bright and early in search of whales on a most-perfect summer morning. Whale watching was easy on our 8:30 departure with whales popping up all around us with little effort on our part! Just look to one side- there's a minke! Look to the other side- there's a big fin whale! In total, 5 minke whales and one
fin whale, Dingle, were in an area relatively close to shore. Dingle was alternating between long, 10-minute dives, and short, 3-minute dives. The minkes were scooting around as minke whales do.

Fin whale #0369, Dingle

Dingle off the Isles of Shoals!
The 1:30 departure was a little different. We decided to take the southern route to Jeffreys Ledge since more whale watch boats were out and were covering the area we were in during the morning trip. Those boats weren't having much luck so we continued on to the very southern-most part of the Ledge. After what seemed like eons of searching, the captain spotted a "low-profile" fin whale but before we could get to it, a minke whale surfaced nearby. We waited for the fin whale to reappear....and waited....then another was seen to the south, a bit further away. Quickly, as we approached, we noticed this was not just one whale. It also was not just two whales. It was two huge fin whales escorted by a small pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins!!!
Fin whale with dolphin in the background

Atlantic white sided dolphins
 This is one of my favorite sighting opportunities! We call it cheating. All we needed to do was keep an eye on the dolphins and the fin whales would surface in the middle of them, over and over!

It didn't take long to identify these fin whales. One was our good friend, Ladder, one of our adoptable whales, and his new friend who has yet to be ID'ed but has been seen in the area for the past couple weeks.
Fin whale with patchy mark on back

Ladder's blowholes!

The group of large and small cetaceans (whales and dolphins) impressed us but soon it was time to move on and head for home. En route, we stumbled upon a couple more fin whales, a minke whale, and a couple of young harbor seals! 

One fin whale was a bit aloof while the other was a bit more cooperative. After a look at this whale close to shore, near Cape Ann, we identified it as #0112, a fin whale first seen in 2001 and who is seen on Jeffreys Ledge almost annually! Hopefully this reoccurring whale will be named soon!
Fin whale #0112 off Thatchers Island
Certainly a great day on the ocean!  Thanks to our awesomely enthusiastic passengers on both trips and special thanks to our gracious raffle winner (on the afternoon trip) Ann who transferred her whale adoption prize to young Sean!! Good karma is all around!

No comments: