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, August 11, 2013

August 11 Granite State

What a beautiful day to spend out on the ocean today. Not only was the weather beautiful but watching whales in these conditions were perfect. We got the chance to see 5 Minke whales this morning and 6 this afternoon. 
Morning Minke whale surfacing just off the port side!

One of the many Minke whales seen this afternoon
Based on the photographs we took of our whales all throughout the day many of them were different from each other which means there were a whole lot of whales out and about today! We can tell Minke whales apart from each other based on the unique shape of their dorsal fins and any other interesting markings found along a whale's body helping to distinguish one Minke whale from another. Check out some of the fins we saw today from our Minke whales below:
Our first Minke whale of the morning

Even though this fin also has two notches missing from it (like the dorsal fin above) the spacing in between those 2 notches are different lengths making these two fins different and thus two different Minke whales!

Even though this photograph is out of focus this Minke whale's fin is still very different than all the others!

Nice smooth fin from this Minke whale

Yet another different Minke whale's fin seen today!
See how differently shaped each fin can be? Not only does the shape of a whale's dorsal fin help to tell one whale apart from another sometimes other field markings can be seen and/or photographed. A prime example is Scar Minke. 
Scar Minke
A photograph of this whale was taken in 1995 aboard the Granite State (thanks to D. Schulte for being so intrigued with whales even back in the day!) and has been spotted and documented over the years out on Jeffreys Ledge. While we may not know exactly how old this particular whale is, we do know Scar Minke is at least 18 years old and continues to live on even though this whale's back appears to be quite deformed. 
The deep gash this Minke whale has on it's back has been visible since it was first seen in 1995!
This whale is such a great sighting and a great story of how we continue to learn more about all the whales that spend time out on Jeffreys Ledge but also as a reminder of how human activity (fishing gear and ship strikes) can have such a direct impact on whales of all sizes in the sea. 
A very special sighting of a very special whale
Along with so many great Minke whale sightings today we also got a chance to watch one of the two Ocean sunfish we saw moving through the water this morning. 
An Ocean sunfish just below the surface of the ocean
The sunfish we stopped on was moseying through the water as we watched this large bony fish swim on through the area. 
The top (and dorsal fin) of our Ocean sunfish as it swam alongside the boat
Great weather and great sightings certainly made for a successful day of whale watching today! Thank you so much to all who joined us today and shared in such a special day!

Minke whale at the surface. You also make out this whale's "minke mittens" seen just below the waterline tight to this whale's body (the light patch in the center of the photo) as all Minke whales have white patches found on each flipper


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