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, August 30, 2012

August 30 Prince of Whales

As we left the dock this afternoon, the breeze was picking up.  That means the seas had the potential of being a little rough 20 miles out on Jeffreys Ledge. But it couldn't be rough since my parents and my Nana were on board and they (almost) always have perfect trips.

We made it a little over half-way to the Ledge when we spotted a small pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins off the bow! This pod included some large males, and one super-tiny calf! The pod was a bit busy doing its own thing but still, some of the members came in close to check us out.
Dolphin mother and calf
We continued on to the Ledge and the seas kept building. Sure, we have encountered much worse conditions, but increasing amounts of white water have an inverse correlation on our whale spotting abilities.  Fortunately, Captain Billy spotted a few blows in the distance.

The first pair of humpback whales we encountered was our good friend "Owl" and her new friend "Ember". Owl has been a regular on Jeffreys Ledge over the year which is why we made her one of our adoptable whales! She is 26 this year and is looking great in spite of the huge, but healing, scar on her back that she has had for about 23 years. Ember is a 30 year old male who is not a regular of the area, but who was part of a satellite tagging project this summer to help make the tag technology better and safer for the whales.
Owl (background) and Ember showing his tag
Owl high fluking!
Owl surprised us by surfacing close, and then lifting her tail extremely high in the air when diving down. Usually she is a low-fluker, so it was nice to see her full tail. Ember only gave us marginal looks at his tail but still great to see a newcomer to the area!

In the distance, we spotted more blows and even a few breaches! We approached what we thought were two single humpbacks. But soon two turned into three- a single and a pair! We followed the pair for a bit. The smaller of the two decided to approach our boat!! This was certainly a young whale- a juvenile perhaps, or so I thought until suddenly from below, we saw a MUCH larger whale begin to surface! In no time I realize the "juvenile" whale was actually Pinball's very large calf!! Pinball (another adoptable whale!!) was surfacing from below, putting herself between her calf and and us- a good motherly thing to do. As we watched them, Mother Nature decided to give us a little "kiss from the sea", soaking everyone on the bow of the boat, including my Nana! Oh, I knew I would hear about that later on! But then we all were rewarded by seeing Pinball's calf breach nearby! Of course I missed the shot since I was too busy looking at a tiny Wilson's storm petrel (my birder friends should be proud) but it was still awesome to see!
Pinball's calf coming in for a closer look at us!
Pinball's calf
In spite of the rocky conditions, we had a fantastic day with the whales! Thanks to all of you who joined us and we hope to see you back on the ocean soon!

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