Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday May 31

While the unofficial start of summer began last weekend the temperature out on the water today reminded us we still have a few weeks to go before the summer, and the hopefully warmer temperatures, really begins. Luckily for us the air temperature isn't much of a factor for whales. Today we got the chance to see 2 Fin whales and a Minke whale during our whale watch.
This Fin whale was on the move right into the wind and waves today!
While one of our Fin whales was spending its time cruising through the water with quite the speed our other Fin whale was spending its time in a much more localized area.
Just a portion of the large body known as a Fin whale!
To our enjoyment we quickly realized exactly which whale we were watching move around. Comet the Fin whale has returned to Jeffreys Ledge for another year! This whale spent a lot of time in the area last year (seen in the Spring, Summer and Fall!) so it was great knowing she has returned once again.
The left and right view of Comet (above and below). Note all the scaring especially behind the dorsal fin in the image below, which is how Comet got her name.

We will be out again tomorrow so feel free to come join us just make sure you bring a few extra layers for it is not quite summer yet!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday May 25

We were lucky enough to watch Fin whales on Jeffreys Ledge again today. On our way out we saw a Minke whale so close to home it was even before we passed by the Isles of Shoals (which are about 6 miles offshore). Once we got to the Ledge we saw spouts in a few different directions and didn't know where to begin. After a few minutes orientating ourselves to the number of whales in the area (at least 5!) we began to ease our way over to a few animals to check them out.
One of the first Fin whale seen darting around the area today
We always make sure to maneuver alongside any whale's movement for it is us humans who are the visitors to the watery world of these marine mammals and thus want to make sure we not to disrupt any whale's natural movements. At first some of our Fin whales were bouncing all around but soon a few began to stay put. So much so we got a chance to watch two different Fin whales catch a few quick naps! Suddenly the whale would remain just below the surface of the ocean, barely propelling itself forward, leading to showcase a unique behavior known as logging or sleeping! With such a large whale hovering so close to the surface we were able to get some awesome looks at a 60+ft Fin whale!
A Fin whale about to get a breath of air. Note the light linear/triangular patch almost in the center of this photo just barely subsurface. That weird coloration is actually the flipper of this Fin whale!
Two different whales (thanks to looking closely at their dorsal fins and realizing it was two different whales we came across snoozing today!) gave us some great views before we moved along to a few of the other spouts in the area.
One of our Fin whales after awakening from a quick afternoon nap as it is off on dive into the depths of the ocean
Before long we recognized one of the whales circling around. It was Bolshoi! Having seen this whale yesterday for the first time in 5 years on Jeffreys Ledge it was great to know this whale is still around utilizing the area.
Bolshoi
A close-up look at Bolshoi's dorsal fin. Just one of the many features researchers use to identify this particular Fin whale from others.
Who knows how long this whale will stick around, or for that matter any of the whales we saw today, but what a nice day with some great looks at some of the second largest animals in the world!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday May 24

The holiday weekend is underway and with whales around it was a great way to start the weekend. Our travels around Jeffreys Ledge today ended up producing 11 Fin whales and one Minke whale. Our sightings today were quite the change from last week's trip and a reminder of how fluid these massive creatures of the deep can come and go in a moment's notice. We first started our day getting some great looks at a familiar whale to Jeffreys Ledge. Bolshoi the Fin whale, a whale first seen in the Gulf of Maine in 1980(!), was moving around the area.
Bolshoi's body scars that help us to recognize this whale from other Fin whales and the reality of the life of a whale: lots of chances to have unfortunate interactions with human-related activities including boat propellers.
It has been a few years since this whale was last seen on Jeffreys Ledge so we were very excited to see this whale again! We spent a bit more time with Bolshoi before we were off to investigate other spouts nearby. More Fin whales were cruising around.
Another Fin whale swimming by
The trip wasn't over yet for we ended our time offshore in an area where there were spouts from at least 6 other Fin whales in all directions around the boat.
Fin whale in the forefront with another Fin whale spout in the background!
We were able to check out a few of these other Fin whales before heading home. What a nice surprise to round out the trip for one of the whales meandering around was a familiar fin belonging to Fin whale #9724.
Fin whale #9724
Who knows what the whales will do/be tomorrow but it was certainly nice to see so many signs of marine life out on the Ledge today!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday May 18

What a most beautiful day to be out on the ocean today. We did quite a bit of searching today but did get the opportunity to get some really nice looks at a Minke whale. While this whale was darting around the area it never went too far in any particular direction.
Our Minke whale from the left and right side (above and below) 

Our next scheduled whale watch is next weekend so stay tuned for more to come!
Minke whale swimming alongside the boat

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday May 11: Happy Mother's Day and Start of the 2014 Season!

Welcome to the 2014 season! It was great to be back on the water searching for whales on Jeffreys Ledge today. We had a successful first day with two adult whales. Our first whale of the season was Humpback whale #0050 (sorry, no fun name for this whale).
First sighting of the season!
Interesting enough we also saw this whale around the same time last year (May 19, 2013 to be exact). Looks like this whale has decided to spend some time in the area once again this year. #0050 even produced a few bubble clouds, a feeding mechanism used by Humpback whales, as we watched this whale zig-zag all around. This whale was first seen in the Gulf of Maine in 1976 making #0050 at least 38 years old!
Humpback whale #0050
We ended our trip with some great looks at a different type of whale, it was a Fin whale! To add to our excitement it was Pemetic.
Just a portion of Pemetic the Fin whale's body
A closer look at the dorsal fin of Pemetic the Fin whale. All those jagged edges around the fin is unique to this whale and helps us to identify this specific individual. Pretty cool huh?
This whale was first seen by our friends at the Blue Ocean Society in 2003 but was first documented in the Gulf of Maine in 1982. Another whale known to be over 30 years old; 32 in fact! This whale has not been seen on Jeffreys Ledge for four years so it was extremely exciting to see and document this whale in our area! 
Our first Fin whale of the year!
It was a great start to the season and we hope all the mothers who joined us today enjoyed their Mother's Day aboard the Granite State along with the whales we saw today!