Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday August 4

What a beautiful day to be out on the ocean!  Wind was almost non-existent and other than a slight swell we were surrounded by calm, calm seas!  Our first stops on marine life this morning wasn't even whales, they were fish!  We certainly enjoy taking a look at anything interesting we spot throughout our travels and today was no different.  We got some great looks at an Ocean sunfish that spent time swimming around us and floating just beyond the back of the boat. 
Ocean sunfish
We love finding these fish and seeing the reactions of our passengers as they realize just how weird looking these creatures really are.  Soon we were heading further offshore and as we made our way towards some whale spouts we were seeing we stopped to look at another fish, this time a Blue shark. 
Blue shark blending in with its surrounding environment
A few whips of its tail and it sank down below our eyesight and so we moved over to the whales we were seeing.  Two Humpback whales were just "bobbing" up and down at the ocean's surface.  These two whales were napping.  Eventually they woke up just long enough to raise their tails and give us a brief look at their tails before once again returning to their napping behavior.  It was Cajun and a new visitor to Jeffreys Ledge this season; Crystal. 
Cajun
These whales were going strong resting so after a while we decided to ease our way from this pair and check out another spout we were seeing in the distance. 


We made our way over to what ended up being two more Humpback whales.  While these animals were much more lively, as in not sleeping, and instead circling around the area we spent some time with this pair as we noticed a tag visible off of one of these whales.  It was a satellite tag that the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies is currently doing a project with.  Check out Humpback whale 2012 Tagging Project for more information.  Thanks to PCCS we found out our tagged whale, even though it never fluked, is a whale named Tectonic.  Our other whale swimming along with Tectonic was Bat. 
Bat raising its tail high into the air
As we spent time with this pair out in the distance we saw whale bodies above the surface.  Our original pair had most definitely woken up as they were now jumping clear out of the water!  We made our way back over to Cajun and Crystal who ended up tail-lobbing, flipper slapping, and rolling all over the place all of a sudden.  What a spectacle. 
Cajun's tail and Crystal's flipper out for all to see







Two very large whales showcasing their flippers!
Water being tossed everywhere as Cajun smacks its flipper back onto the surface!
More flippering for Crystal as Cajun surfaces for a breath of air
However, a good chuckle must be included for as soon as Cajun and Crystal stopped all their aerial activity, the next time both whales surface they were once again sleeping!



As if that activity wasn't enough we also got the chance to see an Atlantic Puffin, a group of 50 Atlantic white-sided dolphins on our way home and even a few people saw a Loggerhead turtle only 5 miles from home!

Atlantic white-sided dolphin
Life was plentiful and with the great weather we couldn't wait to get back out to Jeffreys Ledge for our afternoon trip.


This afternoon's first stop was on a group of 75 Atlantic white-sided dolphins.  These whales were definitely chasing after some food for at one point many of them started circling almost on top of each other charging down into the water each time they took a quick breath.
More dolphins!
Our friends aboard the Prince of Whales had found a few of our morning whales and with some time to venture in that direction we made our way towards the reported activity.  Once we got into the area we surveyed around to figure out just where all the whales were before we started to make our way towards any of them.  Turns out there were 5 Humpback whales in the area.  Two pairs were present and a single out in the distance.  We ended up spending time with Tectonic (still not fluking) and a very scarred-tailed whale.  This scarring is not natural and is a result of a prior entanglement in fishing gear.  Luckily this whale survived such the ordeal but clearly is a reminder of a unfortunate event and potentially tragic event in this whale's life.  This whale is Banyan and another newcomer to Jeffreys Ledge this season.
Banyan's dorsal fin (above) and tail scarring below

With a few looks at this pair we made our way to the other pair since the single Humpback whale was moving further and further offshore.  It was Cajun and Crystal again.  And guess what?  Cajun was still napping.

Crystal and Cajun "hover" just at the surface

Cajun
Crystal was a bit more awake but still not moving terribly far or fast for a Humpback whale.  What a nice way to wrap up a wonderful day out with wildlife.

Crystal

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