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.

Monday, October 10, 2011

October 9- Prince of Whales

What a fantastic final weekend of our whale watching season! On Friday, we were treated to a few looks at critically endangered right whales, and a few fin whales. Saturday brought us an enormous number of Atlantic white sided dolphins and more fin whales, and Sunday, to top it off, we found several fin whales including #9618, dozens of harbor porpoises, leaping bluefin tuna everywhere, and a mother humpback whale with her calf!

Fin whale #9618, first documented in 1984 on Stellwagen Bank and later documented on Jeffreys Ledge in 1996, has been seen several times earlier this summer- in July and August.
Fin whale #9618
A second very large fin whale was seen nearby. This one I thought could be #9709 but upon closer inspection, it is not...likely this whale is a new animal to our catalog!
New fin whale surfacing
Check out the beautiful chevron on this whale- very unique and distinctive!

Fin whale chevron marking
Seemingly everywhere throughout the trip today were harbor porpoises and bluefin tuna jumping around. We saw at least 4 different groups of porpoises, but no sightings of the white one we had seen last week.
Bluefin tuna
As we spotted a couple more blows from fin whales, our friends on the Granite State radioed to inform us of a pair of whales heading our way. After a bit of searching, our special guests Cynthia and John spotted the blows and back of a whale about a mile away. This was a mother/calf pair of humpback whales and even more exciting for us since we hadn't seen any humpbacks since late August!

The calf appeared to be nursing, something it won't be doing much longer as it is nearing weaning time (the calf was likely born in the Caribbean in Dec-January of this past winter). Both the mom, who we later identified as Solo, and her calf were lifting their flukes as they went down on a deep dive together. Absolutely beautiful!

Humpback whales, Solo and her calf

Thanks to everyone on board today for making this such a special trip for us all, and thanks to all of the Prince of Whales passengers this season for your continued support! We look forward to seeing you back on the water next spring!

Keep in touch!Become a Fan on Facebook || Follow Us On Twitter

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 6 Granite State

October already??? Wow. That can only mean one thing... we are just about done with our 2011 whale watching season. However, while we are beginning to wrap up the year, the whales have continued to keep us on our toes. The weather has been less than ideal recently which has been keeping us planted firmly on solid land but our past couple trips to Jeffreys Ledge has continued to showcase the variety Jeffreys always seems to offer. We've had some unexpected sightings in more ways than one!

On September 27 we had quite the cetacean sightings. At least 5 Fin whales were spotted along with a Humpback whale that made it's first appearance on Jeffreys Ledge this season. Viper, a whale that has spent a lot of time a bit further north with our whale watching friends at Bar Harbor Whale Watch over the course of this year's feeding season, was spotted. Viper was doing a bit of traveling but still allowed us a chance to spend some time with this particular whale.

Viper of course was not the only surprise. Little did we know what else was lurking around the water and this time it was not even a baleen whale, it was a toothed-whale. To be more specific, about 20-25 of these toothed-whales. We happened to come across a pod of Common dolphins!!!

Common Dolphins

This sighting marks only the 2nd time EVER the Granite State has seen these animals. Half of our crew had never even seen these cetaceans before and we've spent A LOT of time on the water. What an incredible surprise!!! These animals look a bit different than our usual suspects of dolphins (namely Atlantic white-sided dolphins) and boy were these whales quick.

Common dolphins above vs. Atlantic white-sided dolphins below (photo taken earlier this season)

If you thought white-sided dolphins were tricky to get photographs of, these whales were even more unexpectedly zip-zooming in every which direction around the boat.

Common Dolphins jumping clear out of the water!

Nature, mysterious and wondrous, always has a way of unexpectedly surprising us.

Unique coloration pattern of a Common Dolphin above vs. an Atlantic white-sided dolphin below (photo taken earlier this season)

Today continued with more surprises in and around Jeffreys Ledge as we finally got out on the water for the first time for the month of October. We ended up carefully maneuvering through an area where lots of endangered Right whales were around. Scattered out in the distance in so many different directions were those distinct v-shaped blows and smooth, dark tails, known as a Right whale. A few areas where these whales were occupying included lots of white water and knew a surface active group (SAG) was in effect. Of course Right whales weren't the only animals utilizing Jeffreys Ledge today. A pair of Fin whales were found swimming along together.

The dorsal fins of our Fin whales. Note the animal below has ever so slightly a more "bent" or angled dorsal fin compared to the more "triangular" or upright fin above.
These massively large animals were so graceful as they synchronized their surfacings together; a feat that is quite impressive when you think just one of these animals can reach lengths over 60ft and weigh 60+ tons!

Our Fin whales at the surface together

We are down to our last weekend of the 2011 Season. The weather finally seems like it wants to cooperate for us so feel free to get your last "whale fix" and go whale watching in the next few days this holiday weekend!

Fin whale getting a good breath of air at the surface

Keep in touch!Become a Fan on Facebook || Follow Us On Twitter