Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday, June 25th

What a day! The skies were hazy as we left the dock this morning, but the warm temperature changed shortly after leaving the harbor. We started towards a Southern area of Jeffrey's Ledge in search of whales.  A little inshore of Thatcher's Island, we came upon several Minke whales and actually saw 7 different Minke's throughout this morning's trip. The first two that we started with were charging around in all directions after lots of bait located underneath the water's surface.

As we continued on our way further south, we spotted a blow from a larger whale and decided to check it out.  It tured out to be our old friend Satula.  This humpback whale has been spending quite a bit of time on Southern Jeffrey's Ledge and today was no different.  He continued to feed, using bubble clouds and also gave us quite the indication that he was a healthy feeding whale where we were witness to several instances of him defecating at the water's surface.  Whale poop always gets people laughing, but it is a good indication to us scientists that things are processing properly.

Notice the brown cloud right in front of Satula's tail...whale poop!

After spending time with Satula, we noticed a different whale about 2 miles away and decided to venture that way to see who may be there. Well, it tunrned out to be Pinball, a female humpback whale first sighted in 1989. She was busy feeding as well this morning and gave everyone great looks.

On our way home we spotted a few harbor porpoise, and it was a great way to end our morning trip.

We were looking forward to leaving the dock in the afternoon to beat the summer heat, and decided to start our afternoon in a place where we had had Minke whales on the way home and we were able to start our trip with one very cooperative Minke whale. This whale was circling around after bait and was taking very short dives. Right before leaving this whale, it exhaled close by and gave us all an indication of what it feeding on. That was one stinky Minke whale!

We continued on towards Southern Jeffrey's once again and were able to find both Pinball and Satula once again. This time we found Pinball first and I think at one point she decided to watch us instead. With this close approach you can see her "big wings" underneath the surface.

Pinball's showing her "big wings"

We found Satula about 2 miles away and I think this whale was full from all the food he consumed in the monring because he kept moving his body in a snaking motion in what seemed to be a way to help him digest his food. He also rolled to one side at one point and slapped his flipper along the surface as well.

Since we had just a little bit more time to spend in the area, we were going to try and find Pinball one more time when we found an adult Fin whale instead. This whale turned out to be #9709, an adult female. She was on quite the mission, charging through the water and travelling very quickly through the area.
#9709's chevron pattern

As we tunred for home, we were able to see Pinball one last time and it was such a nice way to end our day.

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