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.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Old friends return

Yesterday (7/3o) I was on the Atlantic Queen and we were happy to see some old friends on the water! We started off with some great looks at a mother/calf pair we've seen this season already, #9904 (who had her last calf 3 years ago).

#9904 and calf

The calf was fun to watch - a couple times it poked its head up first as it came to the surface, a behavior more like a minke whale than a fin whale! After we watched this pair for awhile, a single whale came along - an adult named "Crow" (who could likely be a male since we've seen him several different times and never with a calf), who we first started tracking in 1998 but was first photographed in 1987! This whale has been seen in our area every year since 2004, and has also been sighted off Mount Desert Rock in Maine and off of New York! Crow has a very distinctive dorsal fin, so we could identify him almost immediately:

There have been other familiar fin whales in the area, including "Dingle," who we named for the little point coming out of the back if its dorsal fin. Dingle was seen on Sunday:

Fin whales are an endangered species, and just beautiful to watch. They are probably the most graceful whale we see! Hope you can join us soon and see them for yourself.

Monday, July 28, 2008

What a Surprise!

The weather was beautiful on Jeffrey's Ledge today. The Granite State traveled about 23 miles from Rye this morning near a deep water area right above the ledge and found quite a surprise. We were watching a young Humpback whale, #0811, when the captain noticed a small whale off our bow. It turned out to be not one, but several Pilot whales! We actually haven't seen these whales out on Jeffrey's Ledge since 2005! What a treat it was to spend time with these playful whales. The weather looks great for this week and I hope you will join us soon.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fin whales are back!

We went out to the western edge of Jeffreys on Saturday following a fisherman's report of a couple fin whales and a humpback. We didn't find the humpback, but saw a big fin whale, who was really nice to us in that it only took 2 1/2 minute dives and never went really far, so we got some great looks! The whale was probably about 65 feet long or so, and we really appreciated its size when a tiny (in comparison) minke whale surfaced right near it!

Friday, July 25, 2008

My first post! *hurray!*

So.......... for my first blog...i would like to post a couple of great quotes by those who will remain anonymous (quite possible in part because i may never see some of them again).

"Look! Look! A duck! (in reference to a Shearwater)"
"Whaling is a dirty job"
"Here's some pictures on my phone of my son at his birthday party.....and here he is at easter..."

Great moments particularly on the POW. On that note...

Today was a bit strange with the unexpected bloom of fog. I was making note of some trash that i saw...and then i look up and there's a bunch of fog that suddenly invaded the nice sunny boat ride we were having. You win some you lose some. I still enjoyed the Minke Whales though, even if it wasn't SCAR-MINKE or SOCK-EYE-MINKE (it was really cool seeing SOCK-EYE the other day...Dianna was so happy! hahahah. Okay well, I hope i only bored some people just ''a little bit" 8). Thanks for the invite Jen!
BTW- The pictures on the blog are awesome!!! Here's one i took awhile back


Wacky Wednesday

We've had such awesome whales and weather this summer, I thought it was important to also post a message showing a "slower" day just to even things out. This one is about the trip on Wednesday the 23rd. We've had better days on the ocean. It was a bit sloppy out, and whales were unusually hard to find. Needless to say, we were delighted when we finally came upon a minke whale, who was pretty close to Cape Ann.

After a couple of decent looks, we unfortunately lost it and did some more searching. We saw some splashes in the distance, likely from a breaching minke, but eventually decided we'd had enough of rough seas and it was time to head for home before the pending thunderstorms hit!

Big storm systems often cause the whales to move into different places. But the weather looks good for this weekend, so hopefully we'll get out and have some good sightings!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Visit Jeffrey's Ledge

Last week was a great week to be out on the ocean. My high-lights include seeing a pair of male Humpback whales named Littlespot and Wy on Friday, the 18th. Even though they are frequent visitors to the Ledge, it was our first documentation of them this season. The are older whales, first sighted in 1979 and 1980 respectively.

We were also treated to a nice pod of Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins and a very curious Humpback whale on Sunday, July 20th. This Humpback is new to the area and has yet to be identified. I hope you will join us out on the water soon.

Excellent weekend!

We had a great weekend, with lots of humpbacks, minkes and even a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins on Sunday!

Saturday's weather was gorgeous, and we had at least 6 humpbacks concentrated in one area. They were all milling around feeding under the surface! The whales were all ones we've had in the area recently, including #0803, #0806, #0807, #0811, #0817, and two whales who actually have names, "Gavel" and "Rouge"!

In the hazy, humid weather, we also had an unusually huge amount of bugs aboard the boat, including a monarch and dragonfly on the top deck for awhile - 15 miles offshore.
Over the weekend, the whales ate a lot, too, and we got to see LOTS of whale poop:

On Sunday, the weather was foggier, but there were several humpbacks in the area, including #0811 and Rouge. We were also treated to a sight of 50-75 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, who leapt in the air several times.

There were several mother-calf pairs in the dolphin pod, and the moms brought their calves right next to the boat- always a wonderful sight!

Dolphin and calf

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gorgeous day

It was another gorgeous day on Jeffreys Ledge, with clear blue skies, relatively calm seas and humpbacks and minkes all around!

There were many humpbacks in the area. On the Atlantic Queen, we got good looks at Gavel, Upsilon, "#0806" and another whale who teased us by not fluking as we watched it for several minutes!



#0806 (a juvenile)

There were also several minkes charging around feeding. At one point, one of the humpbacks came up with a minke cruising next to it in the opposite direction!

On the way in, we could see a schooner sailing into Portsmouth Harbor - a nice way to round out a great day on the water!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Flask Saturday July 12, 2008

On Saturday aboard the Atlantic Queen, I finally saw one of my favorite humpback whales "Flask". He did many high flukes showing us his unmistakable tail, we also had several other blows in the area. At one point when a juenile had gone down for a dive, I advised our passengers to always be looking all around the boat as whales can change direction quite quickly and pop up close by. I was looking all around myself having the feeling this whale was going to surface close......minutes later that's exactly what this whale did, coming up on our port side, out of no where! Those passengers and myself had a nice close encounter with the whale and his warm and very fishy breathe!
Passengers where thrilled and amazed, a great crowd of whale lovers on board today!

Patty Adell
Program Coordinator/Naturalist Atlantic Queen II

Friday, July 11, 2008

Juliet and Bungee

Yesterday we stumbled upon Juliet, a female fin whale on southern Jeffreys Ledge. Juliet is a regular visitor to the Ledge and was first seen in 1987. Sadly, this year she looks extremely thin with her vertebrae showing along the entire length of her back. Fortunately, she was in a good area with lots of bait fish showing up on our sounder. We hope she finds some good food and gains weight quickly.

Today was a little happier with several humpbacks (including our buddy, Flask) and a trio of fin whales in the area. We found humpback whale, Bungee, with her new calf. There location was a dead giveaway as the calf breached a few miles off our our bow. Bungee was first see in 1992 and this is her 4th documented calf.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Old Friends

Today on the Prince of Whales, we visited with some old friends including Flask, Upsilon, Clamp and her new calf and Badge! These are all adult whales (except for the calf obviously) with Clamp being the youngest (born in 1990 to Apex). Badge was escorting Clamp and her calf, and this was the first time this season we've seen her. Her distinctive tail, complete with killer whale teeth marks on the upper left, was a welcomed sight as we don't see her too frequently. We also heard reports of Owl and her calf in the area so I can't wait to get back out there to look for her!

Awesome photos from July 7

Here are some great photos of humpbacks that naturalist & BOS Board Member Beth Boucher sent in from her trip aboard the Granite State on July 7 (the "Whale Breath Galore" day below!).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Whale Breath Galore!

Another breathtaking day on Jeffreys Ledge! We had two humpback whales today, but they were very playful! As we drifted with engines off, the whales were spyhopping, and doing several types of breaches (a full breach, a tail breach and chin breaches.)

There was lots of whale breath! The whales were spouting so close many of the passengers needed to clean their glasses! As we tried to leave, the whales even started to follow us.

Come out and see them for yourself! Visit for information on recommended whale watch companies.

Fog and Whales

The picture above is of the Prince of Whales, as seen in the fog by us on the Atlantic Queen yesterday! Luckily, about 15 minutes before I took this photo, we had some great sightings of humpback #0814 (the 14th unidentified humpback seen this year), who surfaced near us several times and seemed to come over to check us out. In addition, there was another humpback and two minkes in the area. Below is a photo of #0814:

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Another beautiful day

Whales were plentiful again today, with many fin, humpback and minke whales around! The seas were glassy calm, affording great views of the whales when they came close.

Aboard the Atlantic Queen out of Rye, we got some great looks a pair of fin whales swimming side-by-side, always a wonderful sight.

We got terrific looks at the 2006 calf of Apex (a 2-year old humpback who hasn't been named yet) and the 2007 calf of Lacey (another humpback unnamed!) as they came close to the boat and checked out our bow and stern several times.

There were also several other humpbacks, fin whales and minkes around that we didn't get close to! There has also been lots of bird life around, with plenty of shearwaters, Wilson's storm-petrels, and a few juvenile northern gannets.

All in all, a great day and we're really enjoying the holiday weekend out on the water!

The only damper has been an increase in marine debris seen on the water, which usually coincides with increased boater/fishing activity. Below is a plastic bottle seen floating 20 miles offshore.

July 4 Sightings

Hi everyone!

Welcome to our new blog! Sightings from this day is a great way to start, as we had a great day on Jeffreys Ledge! We were fortunate enough to see all 3 baleen whales most common in the area, with sightings of about 11 humpbacks, 7 minkes, and a fin whale mother/calf pair (the fin whale, who hopefully will be given a "real" name soon, is known in our catalog as #9904, and she had her last calf 3 years ago).

Identified humpbacks out there today included Clamp, Hornbill, and several whales we've seen multiple times this season but haven't found a match in our catalogs yet.

Come back again soon for more sightings updates. We hope that soon our interns will be contributing as well, so you can see things from their perspective!

Jen Kennedy, BOS Director & Atlantic Queen naturalist