Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday July 25

The whales have been "squirmy" this season, constantly moving around the Ledge in just a matter of hours, so after a day of staying on land we could only imagine what or where we might be so lucky to find whales.  Thanks to our fishing friends this morning we heard there were whales on the Ledge.  Turns out we actually spotted them just inside of Jeffreys Ledge.  Not only was it a pair, and more specifically a mother and calf pair, it was quite the familiar female Humpback whale.  Once again Pinball and her calf were in the area.
Pinball's unique black and white pigmentation pattern
As has been the case with this pair this season the two of them seem to move into the area, "disappear" for a few days to a week, and then one day poof(!) back they are in our neck of the ocean.  Perhaps this pair heads to the far side of Jeffreys Ledge to sections we are unable to venture to on 1/2 day trips but wherever they seem to be swimming to and fro we certainly enjoy seeing them each and every time we encounter the pair in our area.
Pinball and her calf

We ended up making our way to another part of the Ledge this morning and ended up coming upon another mother/calf Humpback whale pair.  This time it was a "newcomer" to the area this season.  Cardhu and her calf have made they journey to our area as they were recently recorded by reserachers on other feeding grounds here in the Gulf of Maine. 
Cardhu's all black tail
Who knows how long these two whales may stick around as maybe they are perhaps just passing through the area, but we enjoyed the chance to watch these two animals circle around this morning.

Before heading for home we kept seeing in the distance a few more whale spouts.  Visibility was spectacular today so we were seeing whale spouts from miles away.  Once we got closer to the area we realized there were 3 Fin whale nearby!  In just a matter of minutes we spotted all 3 whales surface with their lower jaws fully extended outward; these whales were filtering out lots of salt water!

Filtering Fin whale surfacing for a breath of air
When there is filtering occurring it can only mean one thing... these Fin whales were feeding on food further down in the water column!  At one point we had two out of the three whales surface on either side of the boat filtering out water, becoming a "filtering Fin whale sandwich."  Awesome!!!!
The super interesting chevron (swirly gray shading) pattern of this Fin whale

One of our Fin whales was identified as  #0922

With such great sightings and the wind slacking off the longer we were on the water we knew the afternoon was going to be just as exciting.  It didn't take long to do just that!

Thanks to our friends on the Atlantic Queen this afternoon we were informed of a Fin whale on the way to Jeffreys Ledge.  We once again spotted the animal from a good distance away and as we made our way into the area we noticed another spout a bit further out in the distance.  Ultimately one Fin whale in the area turned into two, both identified as adult females!  These two whales, while never becoming associated with each other (swimming side-by-side), were both utilizing the area as they constantly circled in close proximity of each other. 
Super calm water + 1 large Fin whale = Awesome look at one of the second largest creatures on the face of this planet!
Times like these really get you to wondering just what each animal may, or may not be, communicating with each other.  Are they "talking?" Two 60+ ft animals in one area must clearly be informed of each other's location just from the shear size and movements of such a being, but is one moving aside for the other, are they going after the same ball of bait, is one feeding above/below the other?  Oh to be a whale sometimes or at least have a sense as to what in the world is going on below the ocean's surface as we see just a glimpse of these whale's lives while floating above the waterline.  Such mysteries...
Two adult female Fin whales: #9709 (above) and #9904 (below)

After some truly spectacular looks at these two massive mammals we ventured further offshore to see what else may be swimming around.  Our next sighting was much smaller than our Fin whales.  We found a group of 25 Atlantic white-sided dolphins! 

This pod was doing some traveling but did do a few circles around the boat, allowing for some very nice looks, before continuing on their way.  A special treat and yet we still had a bit more time to look for more whales. 
The "white" part of an Atlantic white-sided dolphin
We passed a handful of Minke whales, and even a Blue shark, during our travels knowing word was out that another species was a bit further offshore and we wanted to make sure we had the time to see these whales as well before making our way back towards Rye Harbor.  It was Cardhu and calf again!  These two whales originally were doing a bit of traveling but soon were just circling around the area as more often than not it was Cardhu's calf that showcased its tail more so than Mom.

Cardhu and her calf
Cardhu's calf's tail above the waterline
Thanks to all our energetic passengers today from all around the world!  We had whale spotters all around the boat today giving us the chance to point out all the different marine life we passed and/or spotted throughout our travels!

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