Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday June 20

Fin whales and Minke whales were the talk of the ocean as both trips provided some great looks at each of these species today.  We got a chance to watch some of the second largest animals on the planet (yep we are talking about a Fin whale!) make some very tight turns as it was constantly changing direction and making it sometimes even challenging for us to figure out where these animals might decide to surface next. 
The head of one a Fin whale as it surfaced right alongside the boat!
Off the left side, then out in the distance, then right off the stern, Fin whales and even a couple Minke whales were popping up in every which direction.  What a great size comparison to witness Minke whales that at maximum can be about 1/2 the length of a single Fin whale!
Fin whale body and dorsal fin
Minke whale body and dorsal fin
Not only were the whales around but we couldn't help but be impressed with just how much food we were picking up on the Fish Finder on board.  While searching for whales this device does nothing in the way of finding whales as at any point in time this machine is only picking up what is directly underneath the vessel.  Many times once we have found whales (thanks to our eyes and sometimes other fishing/whale watching vessels in the area!) we start to notice small patches of bait fish on the Fish Finder.  The whales are going after the fish and typically where there are whales there is some food in the water.  Today there was certainly a lot of food near the whales. We kept going over different patches of food throughout the day including a few instances of having almost the entire screen lit up with scaly fish schools under the boat! Below are a sampling of a few spots we floated over during our trips today.

A few hints to decoding the Fish Finder screen:
The number on the bottom left is how deep the water currently is.
The numbers going down the right side is the surface of the ocean (0) leading down to the ocean bottom usually marking every 100ft.
The closer the color is to red (red= most concentrated vs. black/blue= least concentration of bait/fish) the more food in the water. 
165ft of water and a good grouping of fish within the first 100ft below the ocean surface

Some fish in the depths of the ocean below 100ft 

Almost the entire water column filled with fish starting just below the surface down to the bottom of the ocean 186ft below the boat!

The ocean provided some great whale sightings and a perfect way to avoid the sweltering heat on land today. Thanks to our returning passengers and to all our first time whale watchers as it was another good day to be on Jeffreys Ledge!
Fin whale

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