Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday August 18

Four species of whales made for a great "Grand Slam" of whales today aboard the Granite State.  First stop: dolphins.  This group of Atlantic white-sided dolphins were all spread out allowing for everyone on board, as well as boats in the area, to have plenty of opportunities to check out these fun whales to watch.  Once again no matter where you happened to be around the boat these whales were everywhere.

Dolphins surfaced all around the boat

As we ventured further offshore our Captain began spotting whales from miles away.  The incredible crisp/clear horizon was the perfect backdrop to spot whale spouts from forever away.  With all the spouts being seen we knew we had to make our way over to check out the area.  The closer we got, the more blows appeared.  We quickly realized we had 6 Fin whales close by!  All these whales were constantly circling around.  Due to the fact that we were in an area where there were lots of whales with no rhyme or reason to these animal's surfacings we knew it was safer for the whales if we just stayed put and let the whales move around as they so desired.  We wanted to make sure we were not cutting off the natural travel pattern of any of these wild animals so instead of attempting to make our way to each whale before diving further down in the ocean, we ended up just moseying around looking at whatever decided to surface close by.  What fun it was to look in so many directions around the boat as all six whales continued coming up in so many different locations around us.
Just a few of the many Fin whales seen today (above and below!)

As we continued to spend time with all these second-largest living animals on the planet we knew there was still another species of whale a few miles away.  Reports of a Humpback whale had been made known and after a few of the other boats in the area had gotten the chance to spend time with and move on from that whale we knew we could make our way to another species of whale to show our passengers.  After travelling a few miles we saw the tell-tale sign of a Humpback whale: a tail rose high above the surface.  As we made our way to this animal, with a single look at it's dorsal fin, we knew in an instant who was in the area.  Crystal once again was making itself known. 
Another day of Crystal still on Jeffreys Ledge!
This whale spent the entire time we watched it circle in extremely tight circles producing remnants of bubble clouds and also filtering out lots of salt water.  All these activities meant one thing: Crystal was doing some feeding.  So much food was being picked up on our fish finder that one time Crystal himself swam far below the boat, close to a good amount of food, we were passing over.
Our fish finder screen in split in half (left vs. right) to pick up the same water at different intensities.  Note in the 165ft of ocean water we were floating over the large "blob" of red/yellow color on the left is all food in the water and a 40+ ft whale (small "blob" on the right portion of the screen) is Crystal.  Kind of puts into perspective just how much food was in the water.
With the addition of a scattering of Minke whales throughout our day we knew another great day was had out on the ledge.  As always it was a pleasure seeing our passengers experience the excitement and giddiness we too feel when we get the chance to spend time with such incredibly amazing mammals known as whales and share in the pure awe of their habitat.  Familiar faces, newly seasoned whale-spotters, and visitors from all around the globe made for a wonderful experience during our travels today!
Crystal's tail with the pink sky in the background

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