Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday June 27

This morning we spent time with a pair of Fin whales.  While both creatures were spending on average about 11 minutes under the surface of the water each time they would resurface, not only would they still be together, they were barely moving around.  These whales were being a bit sneaky as sometimes they would surface just high enough to take a breath of air but not enough to see their dorsal fins.  Unfortunately even when you did see the two whales dorsal fin's it was still difficult to determine exactly which of the two whales was at the surface as both whales at first glance appeared to be very similar looking.  However, after a little bit of a closer inspection you can see just the slightest differences that make each of these animals unique from one another.
First Fin whale of the pair
A closer look at our first Fin whale's dorsal fin. Note the slight indentation on the back portion of this whale's dorsal fin
 Versus:
Second Fin whale of our morning pair
A slightly broader dorsal fin with a small bend at the tip of the fin itself

With a bit of wave action, the whales seemed to be behaving better than the ocean!  We were able to get some incredible looks as these enormous mammals would cruise down either side of the boat crashing through the waves as they came up to get some big breaths of air.  I guess when you are one of the second largest animals on Earth the Fin whales just push the waves aside as opposed to being pushed aside by the waves!
Fin whale charging through the waves!
A small portion of the white lower jaw and even the chevron  pattern (silver/gray area along the side of this whale) as it swims with ease against the wind/waves!
This afternoon we went searching for our morning pair but had no luck.  Looks like those two animals had ventured off to other areas of the ocean, maybe together or maybe seperately, but they were gone and instead found a different Fin whale that had moved into the area!  This animal had such an interesting dorsal fin that it didn't take long for our crew to match this whale to our Blue Ocean Society Fin Whale Catalog.  It was #0811.  This whale was first sighted on Jeffreys Ledge in 2008 and had been most recently seen in 2010 until today.  Another familiar fin has returned to the Ledge, always a fun sight to see!
Fin whale #0811
A zoomed in look at Fin whale's #0811 dorsal fin.  This fin is completely different looking than the two Fin whales we spent time with this morning and one of the main features we use to tell each Fin whale apart from another!
With a few other Fin whales and some great looks at some of the Minke whales in the area we headed for home.  Thanks to all our passengers who took a bit of a "wild ride" this morning and to all our very inquisitive younger passengers this afternoon.  Some great questions were asked by some very young brains and we sure enjoyed the enthusiasm and eagerness to learn as much as possible about all aspects of whales during our trip!

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