Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday June 15

We had two trips today both very different in their own ways. Perhaps the only similarity of the day was that we continued to see lots of Minke whales throughout our travels to and from Jeffreys Ledge today. This morning we spotted 7 Minke whales and this afternoon we saw 6 Minke whales during our whale watches. 
One of the 13 Minke whales we saw throughout the course of our trips today!

Check out these Minke mittens! This Minke whale swam right towards us allowing for a great view of the white patches all Minke whales possess on their flippers!
This morning we also spent some time with Pinball the Humpback whale. She would travel for a bit before stopping, circling around the area, eating some food, and then continuing on in search of more food! We also saw a handful of bubble clouds created by Pinball which is a technique used by Humpback whales to help gather more fish food. 
Bubbles reaching the surface. By creating bubbles under a school of fish a whale can corral those fish into a tighter group allowing for a greater chance of more fish in each mouthful.
We even had an extra surprise seen at the surface thanks to Pinball this morning. Some whale poop! Brown clouds formed behind Pinball a few times which always tends to get a few chuckles from our passengers when we are lucky enough to point out such a "sighting."
There is a small patch of brown dissipating on the surface. Guess what? It's whale defecation from Pinball!

On our way home this morning we even got a few looks at an Ocean sunfish. Perhaps even this fish was happy the sun was finally shining!

This afternoon we decided to head in the complete opposite direction from where we went during our morning travels. We knew there was a good chance Pinball would still be in the same area but we also knew there were a lot of other whale watching boats from Boston, MA up to our neck of the woods planning on heading out this afternoon. With so many boats coming and going all day long we knew if Pinball was still around she was going to have whale watching boat after whale watching boat near her all day long. In our gut we knew we couldn't add another vessel to Pinball's already boat-filled action surrounding her. Today was one of those days where we had to pause and realize for the best interest of the whale we should not venture towards this animal. Not only would there have been multiple boats on a single whale for the majority of time we were in the vicinity, she had pretty much had passenger vessels around her all day. Don't get us wrong (remember we spent time with this whale this morning) we just knew adding yet another boat into the mix of an already cluster of whale watching boats this afternoon was in our minds not fair or necessary. Granted no one knows how much any vessel, or vessels, can affect a whale (good or bad) but with such a nice day for searching opportunities we decided to try our luck and venture off on our own. Turns out Pinball isn't the only whale around.

We got a chance to spend time with 2 Fin whales this afternoon in addition to all the Minke whales we were seeing. Both of these Fin whales were on the move but with a bit of patience we were able to get some great looks. One of these whales has some very distinct scars on either side of its body but was being a bit more unpredictable with its surfacings so capturing some good photographs was a bit tricky. 
Light-colored linear marks can be seen just below the dorsal fin on this whale. Not sure who it is just yet but those scars will help to identify this whale if we have ever seen it on Jeffreys Ledge before!
The other whale in the area however was spending a bit more time on the surface. Turns out it was Streak. We had seen this whale on our second whale watch of the season this year way back on May 18. What a nice surprise to see this whale around again almost a month later! Streak was first seen in the Gulf of Maine in 1982 making this Fin whale at least 31 years old!

While we do try to show our passengers everything we can during our whale watches sometimes we need to remember that these wild animals need their space too. The ocean is plenty big enough for the whales and all of us to stretch our legs and tails.

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