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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 6 Atlantic Queen

It was a gorgeous day on the ocean!  But overall, a bit of a strange trip.  We were very excited to find first a fin whale (second-largest species on Earth!), then a minke whale, just east of the Isles of Shoals - both pretty close to shore, and great first sightings of the day!

Fin Whale

Minke Whale

Minke whale, with the Isles of Shoals in the background
With lots of time left in the trip, we decided to head East to look over Jeffreys Ledge. And we cruised...and cruised...and cruised... At least there were relatively cool breezes, but not a whole lot to see. We heard from our friends on the Starfish that they had found a fin whale, so we headed over to check it out.  I didn't get very many photos, but this whale looks like #0813 in our fin whale catalog - a whale that we saw in 2008, 2009, and 2010, and also earlier this season.

Fin Whale, possibly #0813

After a few looks at the fin whale, it was time to head home.  We stopped to try to get a look at a basking shark, but I think only the captain saw it before it disappeared.  At least one was out there!

We got another call from the Starfish, saying they had a small humpback whale. We were excited, then quickly weren't sure what to feel. This whale was small enough to be a calf, but its mother was nowhere in sight. It was flipper-slapping and rolling around, but sort of lethargically. So we thought at first that it might be entangled, but there wasn't any sign of fishing gear anywhere. The best we could do at that point was take as many photos as we could and document the encounter and pass along the photos to fellow researchers who might be able to identify the whale.  The whale did dive for several minutes and traveled quite a bit in between, so I'm hoping it'll be ok. It's behavior just looked a little odd for a young humpback.

Humpback whale back and dorsal

Humpback flipper

Half of the whale's fluke out of the water
This was one of those days when the trip didn't end once we reached the dock. I got home, conferred with the Starfish naturalist (Lacey Bluemel, who interned with us last year!), who had gotten closer looks to the whale and reported the sighting to the rescue team at Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. We forwarded photos to the Center, and haven't received much more information so far. They didn't immediately recognize the whale as one of the cases they've been dealing with recently, and asked us to let them know about any future sightings.  

If we hear any  more about this young whale, we'll post it here.  Thanks to all who joined us today and for your patience as we searched for the wild animals of Jeffreys Ledge!  Congratulations to our drawing winner Beth Elstrodt - hope you enjoy your adoption of Owl!

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