Our morning trip ended up including sightings of four kinds of baleen whales! Typically if we are lucky enough to spot 4 types of whales in one trip it usually ends up being mostly baleen whales (Minke whale, Fin whales, and Humpback whales) as well as the toothed-whale variety of the area; Atlantic white-sided dolphins. Well this morning it was a very unexpected species that completed the 4 types of whales for the trip and even that didn't occur until during our travels home. The day began with a quick look at a Minke whale before heading towards Jeffreys Ledge and coming across a single Humpback whale. It was Patches! This whale continues to be spending time on the ledge and was moving ever so slowly around this morning. With minimal travel movements we were able to get some great looks at this particular whale.
|Fin whale #9709 moving through the area!|
|Tornado off on a deeper dive while her calf remains at the surface|
|Tectonic's dorsal fin (above) and Nile's tail (below)|
With such a unique morning cruise we were all interested to see what Jeffreys Ledge had in store for us this afternoon. Well the surprises continued in a completely different manor than from the morning. For starters our first sighting was inshore of the Isles of Shoals. Not even six miles from land we found ourselves watching a group of 100 Atlantic white-sided dolphins!
|The sun was shining, the ocean was calm, and the dolphins were so close to land!|
|Our group of Atlantic white-sided dolphins inside of the Isles of Shoals (in the background)|
|The change in the ocean (all the extra ripples) are being caused by the pod of dolphins!|
|Dolphins surfacing for a breath of air|
|This dolphin certainly made a point to tail slap a few times|
Once we were underway again we were hearing reports of more toothed-whales offshore. But they weren't Atlantic white-sided dolphins. Instead the reports were of a species about twice the size of the whales we had such been watching. Pilot whales were out on the distant side of Jeffreys Ledge. We have not gotten the chance to see Pilot whales at all this season and having a group of them in our region we knew it was an opportunity we could not pass up. Two types of toothed-whales all of which had not been around only hours ago during our morning trip! Wow. It was another completely unexpected surprise. We made our way to the area and ended up spending time with ~30 Pilot whales though twice as many were also further out in the distance. These whales are so different looking than our typically, and still not common, sightings of white-sided dolphins. All dark in color, large dorsal fins, and bulbous flat heads are all characteristics so unique to this whale species.
|Young Pilot whale face!|
|Large dorsal fin of a Pilot whale|
|One of the many Pilot whales moving around the area|
After all of our toothed-whale activities we knew it was time to investigate the larger visible spouts we were seeing from other whales in the area. Fin whales and Humpback whales were plentiful. It was almost a bit of whale chaos as we had to ease around the area as we figured out just how many whales were around and where in fact they were moving towards. We got some incredible looks at a few of the Fin whales circling around the area before making our way towards a pair of whales.
|One of the many Fin whales in the area|
|Palette's tail as her calf takes a breath of air along side her|
More spouts continued to be seen but we knew it was time to head back to the mainland. Jeffreys Ledge certainly did a good job today reminding all of us that when it comes to wildlife anything is possible.
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