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, August 17, 2012

August 17 Prince of Whales

Lots of whales on the Ledge today!

Our morning trip treated us to 14 minke whales, a pod of about 40 dolphins and a fin whale! The first minke we stopped on was an old friend- "Sockeye" Minke! This whale has a mis-shaped lower jaw that angles up over the upper jaw- making it look like a sockeye salmon! We have been watching this whale since the late 1990's!
"Sockeye" Minke whale
"Sockeye" Minke whale
Soon, after pointing out many more minke whales, we found a pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins! These dolphins were lazy at the surface and would swim in towards us, turning on their sides and looking up at us! Who was watching who today??

Atlantic white sided dolphins!
After a bit of searching, we found a tall blow in the distance. This was a fin whale and it turned out that this fin whale was busy! We tried several times to get close to it but it was all over the place! From a distant photo, we were able to ID this unique whale as # 0622, a fin whale first seen in 2006.
Fin whale #0622

Northern Gannet

Throughout the morning trip, we were treated to several species of pelagic birds including great and manx shearwaters, Wilson's storm petrels and even a mature Northern gannet!

The afternoon trip was a bit more breezy, making minke watching a bit challenging but we were very fortunate to find 2 minke whales close by a big fin whale! At one  point, the fin whale swam close by, down the side of the boat! The minke were darting back and forth, giving us nice views of their white bellies and "minke mittens". The fin whale was a big surprise to us- this was a whale that was seen in 2008 but the only identifying photo of it was just of its large scar, caused by a boat propeller. Today we were able to add the whale's chevron pattern and dorsal fin shape (which is also very unique!) to the catalog!
Fin whale surfacing close!

Fin whale #0834

Fin whale- check out the white lower jaw!

As we continued on, we found many more blows around us. Unfortunately, these fin whales were very busy and we barely got a look at the whales themselves. Sometimes nature does not follow our whims :)

In any event, we had a nice afternoon with 5 fin whales and 9 minkes whales, and even a brief look at a blue shark!

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