Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday July 6

Mother Nature continues to bring us beautiful weather and great whales as today was no different.  Both trips today gave us the opportunity to see, and spend time with, some of the 6 Minke whales seen, 1 Fin whale, and 1 Humpback throughout our travels to and from Jeffreys Ledge!  As we always say, every trip can, and is, very different from each other so even though our totals matched up for both trips (quite unusual as I am realizing this fact as I am currently typing) we got the chance to see different whales doing different things today.

This morning our Fin whale was identified as being #0021.  This animal was first spotted on Jeffreys Ledge in 2000 and has such an interesting curvature to its dorsal fin, it didn't take long to match this animal up to one of our known whales in our Blue Ocean Society Fin Whale Catalog. 
Close-up of #0021's dorsal fin
This Fin whale was on the move so while we originally got some nice looks at this whale, it was on a mission to somewhere so we let it continue on its way and we continued further out to the Ledge.  Thanks to our fishing boat friends we had reports of a whales a few miles away.  Once we got there guess who we found?  It was Halfmoon the Humpback whale! 
In two days (we last saw Halfmoon during our morning trip on July 4), this animal had moved to a completely opposite area of Jeffreys Ledge!  We soon calculated that this whale was 25nm from where it had been seen only 48hrs prior!  Not only does this go to show us that the whales truly are constantly moving around on Jeffreys Ledge, and the Gulf of Maine, but that it also does not take long for a whale to "relocate" to other areas of the ocean.  Had this animal moved 25nm in any other direction we would not have been able to spend such quality time with this whale.  A whale's movements are so unpredictable and if you really think about it, it does not take long for any whale to easily move out of the reach of a whale watching boat (aka, further offshore) at any point in time! 

Our afternoon trip also started out with a Fin whale but it certainly wasn't #0021.  This time we got the chance to see Dingle, a Fin whale first seen in 2003 on Jeffreys Ledge. 
Close-up of Dingle's dorsal fin
This large whale surprised us during one surfacing as it came up just beyond the back of the boat, circled around, and then pressed onward to the South.  We followed this whale for a bit before continuing on and going in search of other activity. 

It wasn't long before we were once again in the presence of Halfmoon the Humpback whale.  Still circling around the area and making bubble clouds we spent most of our time with this animal with the engines shut off just floating nearby.
Hello again Halfmoon
This greenish looking cloud (and bubbles at the surface) is a feeding mechanism Atlantic Humpback whales use to catch their food!

Halfmoon spent so much time circling the area we did not need to move as this whale just kept surfacing nearby allowing us to just float along as Halfmoon made the only noise: breathing and diving.  No matter what the species, when you get the chance to float in silence, with the engines shut off, as a whale goes about its day right next to you is by far my most absolute favorite type of experience and something that happens only now and again.  It is a moment/minutes like no other.

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