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.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July 14, Captain's Lady II

What a difference a few hours can make! Our morning trip  was incredible!  We headed north of Boon Island where a couple of fin whales were seen yesterday. With the help of our friends on the Granite State, we  came into an area with 3 huge fin whales- one of whom was spending a lot of time at the surface feeding!
School of fish at the surface
Fin whale lunging through a school of fish
Fin whale rostrum and spout
 For a half hour, we sat on the glassy-calm ocean with our engines shut down and just watched as the whales came up all around us. The fin whale known as Streak was seen the most frequently- she is a female first documented in 1982 off Mount Desert Rock and Boothbay Harbor, Maine. She has been seen near Jeffreys Ledge in 2006, 2010 and 2011!
Streak (fin whale) showing off her scars
 Streak is easy to ID by the large notch in her dorsal fin along with her entanglement scars. Entanglements is a big problem for whales and the majority of whale we see in the Gulf of Maine have scars from prior entanglements. A lot of work is being done to try to reduce and/or prevent this issue, but as long as we expect to have wild-caught seafood on our dining tables, whales will continue to be injured (and some even killed) by some of the gear used to catch that seafood. I have said it before and I will say it again- please know where your seafood comes from, how it is caught, and what else is impacted/injured in the process.

As Streak circled our boat, feeding of the schools of fish, two other fin whales cruised by us! One was Comet- one of our Adoptable fin whales who is also a female with scars (first documented in 1997), and the other was a whale simply known as #0282 (first seen in 2002).
Fin whale #0282
 It was quite the exciting morning with lots of whales and lots of activity. We also saw a minke whale and some seals in the area! On our trip back in, we passed closely by Boon Island Light- the tallest lighthouse in New England which is located off of Cape Neddick, ME.

Boon Island Light
As we headed back up the Merrimack River to our dock, we couldn't help but notice all the beach-goers on Salisbury Beach!
During our afternoon trip, we headed right back to where Streak, Comet and #0282 were seen. But what a difference a few hours makes! We arrived and no whales were to be found! We searched and searched and talked with other whale watching boats in the area. It seemed as if the fin whales had vacated the area!! We were about to give up when we got word that one of the fin whales had just appeared. We managed to get some nice looks at Comet, but she was moving around a lot more than she was in the morning. She wasn't making our job easy at all by surfacing in all different directions, sometimes nearly a mile away!

But such is the life of a whale. They have the freedom to hang out near boats, or to completely take off at a moment's notice. We never know what to expect out on the ocean and today was a prime example of that.

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