Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday May 26

You know it is going to be a good day when the first view you have of a whale during a trip is the entire tail of an animal hovering in the air!  As can be the case when you are in search of wild animals, they have the ability to surprise even us sometimes whether it be based on their behaviors, or location, or just them being themselves.  Today we started our trip on a couple of whales not even near Jeffreys Ledge.  We spent time Isthmus and Draco actively feeding just below the surface! 
Isthmus and Draco filtering out lots of salt water while using their baleen plates to keep all the fish they just gulped up inside their mouths!
The pair definitely had a system going as we watched Isthmus use her enormous tail to slap the surface of the water while Draco was further down in the depth of the ocean blowing bubbles to stun the schools of fish these two whales were going after.

Isthmus using a unique behavior only seen by this species in the Atlantic as a way to stun their food
Isthmus sticking the back part of her whale body high above the water!
Isthmus's activities were stunning the food from the surface while more confusion was coming from under the water thanks to the massive amounts of bubbles coming from Draco's underwater exhalation resulting in complete chaos for the fish who ultimately would think "safety in numbers" was the only way to survive.

Bubbles created by both Isthmus and Draco to help coral the fish
Little did the fish know once they grouped up together, it only made it that much easier for a whale's large mouth to scoop the bait ball up in one foul swoop aka. lunch!
Isthmus's dorsal fin and tail

We all enjoyed the show and with such good looks we decided to press on further offshore and head to Jeffreys Ledge to see what else may be lurking in the waters today.  Our next stop was on a different species.  It was a Fin whale.  With one look as this whale went down on a deeper dive, we knew who it was.  It was Fjord, a whale that has utilized Jeffreys Ledge for years!!!
Great to see you once again Fjord!
Fjord was first sighted in 1981 off the coast of Long Island and has been sighted by the Blue Ocean Society every single year on Jeffreys Ledge since 2000!  With now 12 consecutive years strong, we were super excited to have such a familiar Fin back for another season!

A familiar whale only continued the streak as our next stop was on yet another familiar animal, make that two.  We found another pair of Humpback whales.  It was Valley and Sickle.  Both animals have been seen many a time feeding in our area and once again we were thrilled to have these animals allowing us time to watch them go about their daily maneuvers out on the Ledge.
Valley's lack of dorsal fin
Sickle's sickle-shaped dorsal fin
With the final stop of the day, two more Humpback whales, we got the chance to watch different behaviors than we had seen from any other creatures of the day.  Both animals were enjoying an afternoon siesta!  As we coasted parallel with the whales we were able to watch them as they seemed to almost remain suspended just below the surface.  They would surface very slowly for a breath before returning just as slowly to the same depth just under the water.  Looks like we caught them during a quick nap! 
One of our sleeping whales!
With a few looks and wanting not to disturb them from their behaviors we left our sleeping pair and headed for home.

Many thanks to all our passengers today as we had many a familiar face on board!  Whether it was your first, or your 50th, the excitement that results from spending time out on the water watching whales is quite the experience.  Thanks for sharing it with you all today!

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