Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday July 20

While both our whale watching trips were very different from each other today there was one common bond between all that we saw today...whales doing a great job holding their breath.  This morning we waited anywhere from 12-17 minutes before whales showed themselves again with this afternoon being very similar; around 10-14 minutes dive times.  Recently whales have only been spending a few minutes under the water so when we got the chance to spend time with multiple animals today the much more average dive intervals seemed to last longer than they actually were!  Most of the whales we see out on Jeffreys Ledge average holding their breath for 8-10 minutes at a time so while yes, there were a few instances today where our whales were in the depths of the ocean much longer than anticipated, they still were just doing what they do.

This morning our patience most definitely paid off as what we originally had thought to be a Fin whale in the area ultimately turned out to be a pair of Humpback whales.  While both whales were spending a bit of time under the surface of the ocean when they eventually returned up for air both whales were traveling together and staying up for many a breath.  All these breaths gave us the opportunity to "catch up" to their present location and allowed us to get some great views of both of these whales as they meandered out in the open water.  After a closer inspection at these whales tail's we identified them as two 4 year olds!  We were watching Kickoff and Obelus.  Both of these Humpback whales have been seen on Jeffreys Ledge in the past years but today was the first time either one of these mammals was seen on the Ledge!  We love visitors to our area! 
Kickoff was just given a name last week (July 11 to be exact!) and are happy to call this animal by it's official name as prior to "Kickoff" we had been referring to it as Fundy's 2008 calf.  Great to have both these whales in the area today.

Our morning trip wasn't over just yet as just before heading for home we came across another species.  It was a Fin whale. 
One massively large Fin whale just barely making a ripple as it surfaces for a breath of air
This whale rolled over under the water while we spent time watching it as you could see a massive green mass in the water, the underside/belly of this whale!  As this Fin whale went on a deeper dive the dorsal fin was so distinctive it didn't take long to get an ID on it.  It was #0331!  This whale was first seen in the Gulf of Maine in 1982 and first spotted specifically on Jeffreys Ledge in 2003.  What a great find!

Our afternoon adventures first brought us to a Minke whale before coming across a another species.
Minke whale
Our next whale was a Humpback whale.  This was the same animal we have been seeing over the past week or so and were starting to get a bit concerned as each and every time we were encountering this animal it was very relaxed.  Almost too relaxed.  No raises of a tail, no deeper dives, just disappearing underneath the surface. 
Seal's marked up body and dorsal fin
While this animal definitely has some scars/markings along its back we were very happy to see this animal raise it tail and verifying that no "extra weight" (aka. line of any sort) was preventing this whale from having the capability of accomplishing such a behavior. 
Finally getting the chance to see the underside, or any part for that matter, of Seal's tail!

We were just thrilled to see this whale's clean tail but Seal apparently had just one more surprise in store.  This whale went from sleeping to trashing it's back half of it's body high into the air!  This whale did a combination of a tail breach and lob-tail all in one!  What we thought was going to turn into a high-fluking dive turned into a lob-tail smack on the water's surface.  It was quite the sight and a nice ending to a wonderful day on the water.
A slow high raise of Seal's tail and back half of body (above) turned into a quick motion of it's tail about to smack it back on the surface (below)

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