Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Happy Summer Solstice!

This morning we headed  out to find marine life and were pleasantly surprised with the variety.  We passed by a minke whale between the harbor and Isle of Shoals, and ended up with 5 minkes throughout the trip. 
Minke whale
Two different fin whales were spotted including our familiar friend #9709. 

A couple of harbor seals and a huge grey seal were spotted. We got a brief look at a basking shark before heading home. But to our surprise, the trip wasn’t over yet. We encountered a large pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins. The views of these “toothed whales” were amazing! We even shut down the boat and let the dolphins swim around us curiously. By far, this was my best look at Atlantic white sided dolphins this year! 

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention our stowaway!  We had a butterfly ride along on the entire trip! Between trips, we released it on land where it should be much happier 😊

This afternoon, we saw fin whale #9709 again, but she was a little ways away from where she was on the morning trip. 

Whales certainly do move around a whole lot!  A few minke whales were also spotted, and a second fin whale was seen offshore too!

Several Wilson’s storm petrels, great shearwaters and sooty shearwaters were seen as well! The variety of marine life continues to abound!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Today the whales reminded us of their wild nature. Their movements are on their own schedules. Watching a whale in its natural habitat is a special occasion on any given day. This morning we saw a pod of 150 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, 4 humpback whales, 6 minke whales and two fin whales. It was a superfecta of sightings!
Atlantic white-sided dolphins
The ocean was so calm that any disturbance on the surface was a trigger to focus on knowing something created it.
Humpback whale surfacing in such pristine conditions
Our humpback whales included familiar individuals Pinball, Hornbill, Clamp and Satula. On our way home we even encountered a couple fin whales giving us such a great perspective of how large whales can truly be.
Large fin whale
This afternoon we headed back out to where our sightings were during the morning hours. However, once we got there it was quiet. The whales had moved and so we did the same. In total we saw 4 minke whales and one humpback whale.
Minke whale
Our humpback whale was a new visitor to the region this season. Breakers the humpback whale was moving through the area. What a unexpected surprise!
For our birding friends we also had our first sightings of a northern fulmar and manx shearwaters today!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

What an incredible day. The ocean got better and better with each passing hour. The birds were flying and the whales were plentiful. This morning we saw 3 minke whales, 8-10 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, 7 humpback whales and a distant look at a fin whale on our way home.
Minke whale
While our group of dolphins were on the smaller size we got some great looks at these toothed-whales before heading out to Jeffreys Ledge where even more life was waiting for us.
Atlantic white-sided dolphins
Next we spent time with humpback whales Clamp, Hornbill, Pinball, Furrows, Satula and Wigwam and her 2018 calf. So many fantastic individuals!
The first sighting of Pinball for us this season!
The whales were busy zigging and zagging in every which direction as we attempted to check out as much as time allowed us.
Wigwam and her calf
Humpback whale tail
This afternoon we headed back offshore to see 2 minke whales and 6 humpback whales. To our surprise our first humpback whale was not even one we had seen during our morning travels. The trip started with Gondolier moseying around.
We then saw Pinball, Clamp, Hornbill and Furrows.
Flat calm seas as a humpback whale exhales
We even spotted another humpback whale on our way home but we have not been able to positively identify that individual. Today also marked the best pelagic birding of the season. Several great shearwaters and Wilson's storm petrels were sighted on both trips.
Could you ask for nicer conditions to view wildlife? Here a great shearwater sits on the flat calm sea
Can you find the Wilson's storm petrel flying above this whale's tail?
There were even a few sooty shearwaters spotted on our morning trip. What a great day in the Gulf of Maine with wonderful weather and wonderful wildlife.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A Happy Father's Day to all near and far! Today the ocean was perfection and the whales were plentiful. This morning we saw 5 fin whales, 4 minke whales, 2 humpback whales and 2 basking sharks. Familiar whales included Dingle the fin whale and humpback whales Hornbill and Satula.
Our first whale of the day was Dingle the fin whale!
Basking shark swimming alongside the boat
Most of our sightings were concentrated in such a small area that if you gave it a minute a whale would surface in your vantage point no matter where you happened to be around the boat! So much going on!
Minke whale in the foreground while the tip of a fin whale's dorsal fin is just beyond!
Sleek body of a fin whale on the left and a humpback whale's back on the right
This afternoon the whales were a bit more spread out from one another but plenty of life was still around. We saw 4 minke whales, 2 humpback whales and 4 fin whales. Both Satula and Hornbill were still in the general area but we also were able to check out a pair of fin whales on the move together.
Satula (above and below)

Fin whale

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sat, June 16, 2018

This morning we found a gray seal hanging out near our boat before finding some humpback whales in the area. Satula, Hornbill (both adoptable) and Sedge were seen within a mile of each other but doing their own things.  A minke whale popped up as did a small pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins. This pod was tricky to get looks at since they seemed pretty intent on finding fish to eat!  We passed by a couple more minke whales before finding a huge fin whale. This was Dingle, a favorite of ours and also an adoptable whale!  We passed another minke whale and some harbor seals on our way home.




This afternoon, we ventured in a different direction, following a report by a fishing boat. There we found a huge group of Atlantic white sided dolphins and a fin whale. The dolphins were feeding and were very spread out but we estimate 400+ in the pod. Leaping dolphins, curious dolphins, hungry dolphins….we saw it all! A few northern gannets were also on scene, probably trying to catch some of the fish that the dolphins and fin whale missed.  We also saw several grey seals and harbor seals off shore and had the rare treat of swinging by Boon Island on our way home to see the colony of seals there!  A minke whale was spotted on our way home and this by far was the best minke whale sighting of the day!
Atlantic white sided dolphins

Boon Island

Harbor seals on Boon Island

Minke whale

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday, June 15, 2018

This afternoon, we headed towards Jeffreys Ledge but found whales before we got there! Hornbill, a humpback whale, was the first to be spotted, and even from a distance, we recognized him with his small dorsal fin that has some white scarring.  He was all over the place, but that is typical Hornbill behavior! Hornbill has been seen a couple of times already this season so great to know that he is sticking around!

Next we found Satula, who is also easy to identify from a distance based on his lack of dorsal fin! Several humpback whales have lost their dorsal fins and all have unique scars. Satula was doing short dives and staying at the surface long enough for us to get close enough to see the “glow” of the long, white flippers underwater.  This was our first look at Satula this season so great to know that he has survived another year!

Both Hornbill and Satula are adoptable through Blue OceanSociety!  It is always great to see familiar whales out there!

Next we found a 3rd humpback whale who was on the move. As we waited for it to reappear, a pair of fin whales surfaced close by. We have not identified these individuals yet but will keep you posted when we do! Fin whales are huge- the 2nd largest animal on Earth! Watching a pair of them surface and dive together was quite remarkable!

On our way home, we found our 3rd humpback whale again. This was Nike, who is a new visitor to the area this year! 

 Fantastic afternoon of whale watching to start off a great weekend full of more whale watching!