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.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

July 24, Granite State

Today's morning trip was a bit rough to start- both in terms of the sea state and the whales. We were getting a little bounced around on our way out and then saw a whale but couldn't get better looks at it.  Fortunately, the ocean and whale gods decided to cooperate and we ended up with a nice trip. An ocean sunfish popped up near us and we were able to see this large fish quite well. It cooperated nicely and after a few viewings, we continued on to a report of other minke whales nearby.
Ocean Sunfish just below the surface
 One whale was a favorite of ours, "scar minke". This whale has a large scar, likely caused from being hit by a boat, in front if its dorsal fin.
Minke nose
"Scar Minke"'s forward scar
"Scar Minke"'s prominent scar
"Scar Minke" was first documented in 1995 and had that healed scar back we really don't know how old this whales is but it is likely well over 20 years old! A second minke was in the area near this one but we only got a couple of quick looks at it.

Our return trip brought a third that we passed by on our way home to Rye.

By the afternoon trip, the seas had calmed dramatically, making whale spotting much easier. We started out by seeing an ocean sunfish amidst the Isles of Shoals! This sunfish was very cooperative and was spending its afternoon just lazing at the surface, basking in the sun.  Not far from the Shoals, we saw our first whale- a minke whale! We got a brief look at it, and then it decided it had better things to do and we never saw it again. We continued on. A report came over the radio of a large fin whale in the area so we headed there. In that area, we saw 2 minke whales briefly and the fin whale once but then as soon as these whales were seen, they also disappeared. It still baffles me how a 70-ton animal can vanish. But that was the case today.
Fin Whale
Even though we only got a quick look at this fin whale, we could still tell that it was whale #0932- a fin whale first seen by Blue Ocean Society staff in 2009.   We kept going and found a small pod of harbor porpoises that were less than social and disappeared almost as soon as we pointed them out. Eventually we worked our way out to where we had a minke in the morning and to our surprise we saw "Scar Minke" again! This whale has been fantastic lately, surfacing frequently and close to the boat, with its pointed nose poking out!
Minke Whale nose again!
"Scar Minke"'s left side
Soon after "Scar Minke" (who really needs a better name) we found a pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins! These animals were much more sociable than the porpoise we tried to view earlier and were splashing around at the surface quite a bit!

Soon, our time was up and we had to head back to Rye Harbor. But on the way home we found an area with 3 different minke whales!! What a great extra bonus to the trip! Thanks to everyone who joined us today and we hope to see you again soon!

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