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, October 16, 2008

Bittersweet Ending

Sunday, October 12th, was our last whale watch of the 2008 season. I found it very difficult to leave Jeffrey's Ledge with so many whales around. We started our trip a bit inshore of Jeffrey's with many diffferent adult Fin whales. Throughout our trip we also encountered many different pods of Harbor porpoise and were even lucky enough to see a Basking Shark. Once we reached the Ledge, we were pleased to find 3 adult Humpback whales, Rouge, Kohoutek, and Spoon! Rouge was traveling alone while Spoon and Kohoutek stayed together, feeding the entire time. It was great to see old "friends" on the Ledge for one last time. For me, the highlight of the trip came towards the end. We were lucky enough to finish our trip with 3 Northern Right Whales. Two of them were travelling together and spending the majority of their time at the water's surface. We watched from a distance as they raised their heads high above the surface and one of them even spy-hopped to get a good look around. With so few left in the world, I couldn't think of a better way to end our season. It was truely remarkable. Many thanks to everyone at Blue Ocean, Granite State Whale Watch, and all our passengers for another great season. I am already counting the days until next May!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Grand Finale

Although I am sad to see the whale watch season come to an end, I am very pleased with our last trip's sightings. We began this beautiful day passing by what seemed to be endless pods of harbor porpoises. These little friends were everywhere! On southern Jeffreys, we had a few looks at Valley, a female humpback whale who was moving pretty slowly and surfaced pretty close to our motionless boat.

After that, we moved north a bit to find, to our happy surprise, three right whales! Two were together, rolling at the surface, and lifting their enormous heads and flukes out of the water. The third was just a little further away. We sat quietly and watched these endangered animals frolic for a bit, not seeming to have a care in the world. It is truly amazing to be in the presence of right whales as their population is so small, and to think that they may not be here in 50 years. We were all very thankful for the experience. As we were enjoying the sights, a sei whale cruised by and a dozen small land birds of various species were fluttering all around our boat much to the delight of the passengers.

As we headed for home, glowing from such a wonderful last trip, we encountered more whales! This was a pair of humpbacks and as soon as the larger one lifted her tail, we immediately knew who she was. Pinball and her new calf!!! Pinball is one of our 4 humpbacks available for adoption and she has only been seen once this summer by our staff. Pinball and her calf were moving south at a steady rate, and the calf, nearing its weaning time and showing some independence, was beginning to stray a bit from Pinball.

I can't imagine a better way to end the season. For all of you who came out with us this summer, thank you! And we hope to see you back with us (and the whales) next year!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ending on a High Note

We finished up our season on the Atlantic Queen yesterday, and I'm sorry to see the season ending. It seems like summer just started! We ended on a high note, though. We started out with a pair of fin whales, and have identified one as "Trax," a whale first seen by BOS just last year but whose sightings records at Allied Whale in Bar Harbor date back to 1979! This whale has a very distinctive set of prop scars on its right side.


Then we were lucky enough to see a right whale, our third of the season! As one of the most endangered large whales with only an estimated 400 remaining worldwide, this was a great sighting! We were fortunate to see it gracefully lift its enormous fluke before we left. We also saw lots of harbor porpoise throughout the trip and even a few tuna.

If we identify the other fin whale and the right whale, I'll post more information about them here this week. We'll look forward to seeing you in 2009!

A plastic bag 20 miles offshore.
We'll be tabulating our litter data soon to see if plastic bags were again one of the top items seen offshore.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Finishing Strong!

Even though this upcoming weekend is our last one of the 2008 season, the whales don't want to say good-bye. Aboard the Granite State, we were treated to lots of "whale friends" new and old, over the last couple of days. On Wednesday, we had 5 different whale species, along with a harbor seal and ocean sunfish. One of many highlights that day, was a sighting of a Northern Right whale...with less than 400 in the world, that alone made our day. We were also treated to a pair of familiar faces...two female Humpbacks, Valley and Fan. These two were feeding the whole time and Fan even rolled over at one point.

Today proved to be just as plentiful. More Humpbacks, Fin whales, Minkes, and Right whales once again! We spent the majority of our time with a mother and calf Humpback pair...Partition and calf. Both mom and calf rolled over at one point, showing thier long flippers above the surface. We finished our trip with a sighting of a nice Fin whale and another Humpback pair...Quote and calf. It's shaping up to be a nice weekend on Jeffrey's Ledge. This is our last weekend to spend quality time with the whales. I know I am already looking forward to May 2009! Please join us.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Marine life galore!

Today was an awesome day with sightings throughout the trip- harbor porpoises, harbor seals, minke whales, fin whales, sei whales, humpback whales, an ocean sunfish and possibly and elusive BLUE whale!!

We began with the porpoises, minke and fin whales. From there we found a sei whale near a pair of adult humpbacks (Regulus and Glo-Stick).

In the close distance, Owl and her calf were breaching and flipper slapping!!! So wonderful to see since Owl is one of our adoptable whales and hasn't been seen on the ledge since mid July. Owl and her calf then joined up with the 2 adults and all 3 adults began flippering in synch! What an amazing sight!!!

As we were running low on time, we skirted the area and found Quote and her calf being escorted by Flask, another adoptable whale!!! So great to see him as well! Flask's tail adorns the back of our t-shirts and sweatshirts.

The trip wasn't over yet though. A fin whale, several more humpbacks and possibly a BLUE whale were also observed in the area. The elusive Blue was not cooperative and we never did get definative images of it, but as another boat had reported it earlier in the day, we are certain we caught a glimpse of it, even if it did not want to be seen.

As our season winds down, be sure to come out for one last chance of whale watching next weekend before the boats haul out on dry land.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Humpbacks Plentiful Today!

We had another great trip on the Atlantic Queen today, with lots of humpbacks around! We saw a few harbor porpoise on the way out, then spent time with two humpbacks, Mantis (born in 1998) and Venom (born in 1996).



We also saw some sei whales, a fairly rare sighting for the area. This was only the second time we've seen sei whales this year! The two whales were rolling just under the water surface, apparently feeding on something.

We then moved on to 3 more humpbacks, our adopt-a-whale and unofficial mascot, Flask (first seen in 1982) and a 25-year old female named Quote and her calf. We got terrific looks at all the whales, as they spent lots of time at the surface and fluked consistently, so we often got to see their massive tails as they dove down.

QuoteQuote's calf

Were you out with us this weekend? What did you think? Feel free to leave a comment!

One more weekend left of whale watching - we hope to see you soon!