Sunday, September 20, 2020

September 20, 2020

Unfortunately, the weather has been absolutely dreadful all week. No whale watching trips ran between September 14-20. Here hoping this coming week gives us some conducive conditions. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

September 12-13, 2020

On Saturday morning we did a lot of searching. I mean a lot! Patience was key and we eventually got a chance to see two humpback whales, one of which was creating numerous bubble clouds. Owl was one of our whales and the other, a new visitor for the season. This familiar pattern belongs to Fan!

Owl the humpback whale
Hello Fan!

During our afternoon trip we checked out Owl, still creating a few bubble clouds. We also checked out a pair of fin whales moving through the area.

Humpback whale surfacing
Afternoon sighting of Owl
Fin whale

Sunday was swell both in the ocean movements and the sightings! The trip started with an ocean sunfish, one of two sighted during the day.

Ocean sunfish

As we made our way offshore our Captain spotted something super special. It was a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle!!!! This is the first Kemp's Ridley I have ever seen.

Kemp's Ridley turtle!!!

Not only was it a sea turtle, a rarity to start, but a life species for me. Oh my goodness!!! After spending a little time with this little friend we were back searching for more marine life.

Just keeping swimming, just keep swimming 😊

We ended up then seeing two different fin whales one of which is identified as Blue Ocean Society's #1015, a fin whale first sighted by Blue Ocean researchers in 2010!

Stealth-like fin whale

Sightings weren't over for then watched three humpback whales. First was Dross. This humpback whale was sighted on our first trip of the 2020 season, on June 20th, and not since! We also saw Fan and a familiar friend, Patches, a boat favorite for sure. What a weekend!

Diving humpback whale
Patches tail breaching
Large humpback whale flipper

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

September 9, 2020

Today's whale watch started out foggy but then cleared just in time for us to find whales! Several fin whales were circling around and one even lunged at the surface!

A new humpback whale was also sighted. We are still searching our files to determine who this whale is!

And we can't forget the shy blue shark! Great day!

Monday, September 7, 2020

September 5-7, 2020

Happy Labor Day weekend! How are we already into September? We had two trips on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday morning we first checked out a fin whale spending only a few minutes below the surface at a time. A fin whale, such a big mammal.

Fin whale (above and below)

Our next marine sighting was a leatherback sea turtle. What a season it has been for sighting the largest of the sea turtles.

Hello leatherback!

Congratulations to Nicole, one of our Blue Ocean Society interns, who finally saw her first sea turtle! The morning trip wrapped up with humpback whales Owl and Nile.

Morning humpback whales

On Saturday afternoon we started the trip with a leatherback sea turtle. One day and two sea turtles! How cool is that? What a way to start!

Afternoon sea turtle sighting!

We then saw four humpback whales. Nile was associated with Chromosome, Owl was still circling around and a yet-to-be identified whale was out in the distance.

Chromosome and Nile

Sunday morning was just what we enjoy. There was a crisp horizon and calm seas. Only minutes after leaving the harbor we had an ocean sunfish. This fish was unfazed by our presence, as they tend to be, so we got great looks before heading offshore.

Incoming ocean sunfish

Out towards the ledge humpback whales Owl, Nile and Chromosome were still around and now all together! At one point we even had a fin whale surface nearby.

Diving whales
Fin whale swimming by

On our afternoon trip these three humpback whales were sighted again but this time Nile and Chromosome were together and Owl was off on her own.

Whale spout

How quickly these associations can fizzle. But alas, before leaving the area all three were back together again!

All three humpback whales together again!
Labor Day Monday was breezy and as the day wore on it just got more breezy. Before the ocean really got exciting we came across as spout, ultimately two! Pinball the humpback whale was back. What a fantastic surprise. We last saw this whale over a month ago. Wow. Such a fun find.
Such a pleasant surprise of a pigmentation pattern. Hello again Pinball!
We also briefly saw Osprey the humpback whale surface in the area. Our next trip is on Wednesday as we settle into our fall schedule. Stay tuned as we transition into our fall whale watching routine.
Pinball just below the waves
Humpback whale swimming by

Friday, September 4, 2020

September 3-4, 2020

arThursday, September 3rd was an overcast, slightly rainy day, but that didn't stop us from finding whales! The first sighting was a pair of humpback whales, Nile and Chromosome! 
Nile, the humpback whale

Chromosome is a new visitor for us this year, although very familiar with his distinctive markings! 
One humpback whale diving

Two humpback whales diving!

Nearby, another pair of humpback whales were seen. These were Owl and Fern! Before we knew it, Fern joined up with Nile and Chromosome and Owl took off by herself.
Three humpback whales breathing!

Owl, the humpback whale
Owl diving
Not far away, a pod of about 75 Atlantic white sided dolphins showed up, and we even got some looks at some other species of marine life including a blue shark, an ocean sunfish and a lion's mane jelly!  The bird life included great shearwaters, Cory's shearwaters and Wilson's storm petrels! Very diverse day!

Friday, September 4th was bight and sunny with relatively calm seas. We got a call from one of our friends aboard Good Bones who alerted us to a few humpbacks where they were fishing.  Upon arrival, we found the humpback whale, Nile, surfacing every few minutes. 

Nearby, we spotted a pair of humpback whales, Chromosome and Fern! These two were blowing small bubble clouds and surfacing ever couple minutes!

In the distance, we saw another blow which turned out to be a trio of humpback whales: Owl, and a mother with her calf! At first all three were together. Then Owl left the pair but stayed in the area.  The mom and calf were moving around quite a bit.
Humpback whale mom and calf
Humpback mom and calf

Humpback whale, Owl
Humpback whale, Owl

 While they were down, our mate spotted a leatherback sea turtle!!! These have been seen a few times this summer but are generally very rare to see in our area!
Leatherback sea turtle!

We went back to the pair of humpbacks, but now they were sleeping. A minke whale swam by and they didn't even seem to notice. The calf was at the surface for quite some time, with mom checking in now and then. We never did see her tail, but the calf decided to surface tail-first several times!!  
Humpback whale calf

Such a cool sighting! We had incredible lighting and could see almost the entire calf just below the surface.

On our trek home, our captain spotted some dolphins. At first it didn't look like too many, but as we spent time with this pod, it turned out to be a much larger pod than we first thought. About 100 common dolphins were in the area!!! This was super awesome for 2 reasons. First, common dolphins are not common in our area! They are an offshore species, often seen several hundred miles from shore. Second, common dolphins are usually quite fast and are seen racing around at high speeds. This pod was really mellow and seemingly curious about our boat! With the calm conditions and good lighting, we were treated to some amazing looks at these little "toothed whales"!

Such a great start to the holiday weekend! I can't wait to see what the rest of the weekend has in store for us!