Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday July 7

Jeffreys Ledge was once again the place to be today!  The ocean was perfect (again!) and the whales were certainly making their presence known.  This morning alone we sighted 20 whales!  The breakdown included 8 Minke whales, 9 Fin whales, and 3 Humpback whales.

Upon the journey towards Jeffreys Ledge this morning we spotted a few Minke whales pointing them out to all on board as we wanted to get a bit further offshore to search for other Minke whales and other species closer to the Ledge. Once again our fishing boat friends passed along a sighting report to us and slightly altered course after being informed of a couple Fin whales not far from where we were originally were planning to start our search this morning.  To our delight we came across a Fin whale mother and her calf! 
Fin whale mother and calf pair going on a deeper dive
As I type our incredible Fin whale ID-Master is attempting to match up our mom to a whale we've seen out on Jeffreys Ledge in the past but so far all is quiet.  This potentially could be not only a new Fin whale to be seen on Jeffreys Ledge, it is also a now-known female since she was sighted swimming along with her calf whom was just born this past winter!  We are always so excited to see new "life" out on the water, especially from Fin whales as many times these mammals seem to not get the appreciation they deserve as being one of the largest creatures on this planet!  It was spectacular to watch these two whales meander through the water with such grace.  With some great looks we continued on to more reports of whales nearby.
Currently unidentified female Fin whale mom but still exciting to see her and her calf on Jeffreys!
Fin whale calf!
What did we happen to come across next???  Another mother/calf pair!!!  This time it was a different species; we were about to spend some time with a Humpback whale pair!  One quick look at Mom and we knew we had come across Pinball and her calf again!!! 
Pinball and her calf getting some fresh air
We last saw these two whales June 23 (two weeks ago to the day!!!) and were very excited to have these animals once again nearby to watch them go about their day! 
Pinball's tail and her calf's dorsal fin
With some nice looks at our pair, a few Minke whales in the area, and even 2 other Fin whales out in the distance, we had a bit more time to explore more of Jeffreys Ledge before heading home.

Our next stop was an area where our friends aboard the Prince of Whales had been shortly before.  We came into an area where there were whales everywhere.  It was a bit of "whale pandemonium!"  Minke whales kept surfacing every which way, we had 3 Fin whales cruising here and there, and a Humpback whale making bubble clouds in the middle of it all!  Anywhere you looked there were whales.  We are able to identify a few of the animals circling about including Dyad the Humpback whale, another Fin whale mother/calf pair(!!!) #9904 and calf, and potentially even Fin whale #0635!  What a way to end a trip.
Dyad's back and dorsal fin
Dyad the Humpback whale
This afternoon it wasn't a difficult decision to head back to where we had seen so much activity only hours before.  On our way out we too saw a few Minke whales before hearing of multiple whales from our friends aboard the Atlantic Queen just a few miles from where we were planning on going.  We ended up coming into an area where there were 4 Humpback whale and a few more Minke whales scattered around the area!  We got the chance to spend a bit of time with Dyad the Humpback whale once again before venturing on towards Pinball and her calf, both of which had moved a bit from where we had sighted them during our morning trip! 
Pinball and her calf giving our passengers a great look as the two whales swim across our bow
Pinball and her calf going on a deeper dive
And let us not forget about Halfmoon the humpback whale who was also swimming nearby as we spent time watching all these whales.

With a quick look at the fish finder we knew why all these whales were close by.  There was PLENTY of food in the water!  The few snapshots I captured showcase the depth of the water (# in the lower right-hand corner) and the high concentration of food scattered throughout the water column!
Lots of fish swimming around towards the bottom of the 194ft of ocean we were in!
This portion of the ocean contains plenty of fish starting from ~50ft below the surface of the water pretty much straight down to the bottom at 188ft underneath us!

Our final familiar animal for the day turned out to be one of our many Minke whales we sighted during our day today.  I know this photo is a bit tricky to understand but this Minke whale is currently going on a deeper dive (directly away from us) but if you look closely it has a propeller wound on its back. An unfortunate event of interacting with a boat in the past has caused this whale to bear such scars from the interaction but luckily has been able to survive such the ordeal.  Great to see "Scar Minke" once again on Jeffreys Ledge as many a "whalehead" knows this animal quite well on Jeffreys Ledge.
Scar Minke is still going strong!
Who knows if these whales will be anywhere near the area where they were seen today but we know we are all looking forward to seeing what may be out there again in the morning!  Congratulations to all of our first-time whale watchers today!  It was a wonderful day to be on the water seeing whales for your first time (or Birthday celebrations, or returning faces!) as we hope the whales were able to leave quite the imprint in your memory today!

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