Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday, October 12

The final trip of the season could not have been better. The calm seas, crisp clear horizon and warm sunny rays made time out on the open ocean a perfect combination. Add in some wonderful whale sightings and it was a wonderful way to wrap up another successful whale watching season. Our first stop of the day was only a couple of miles beyond the harbor. We had come across a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins.
Splashing waves as our dolphins swam at the surface
The best part of this sighting was that this group was such a tight-knit group, and with the calm water, the visual of watching these agile mammals was incredible. There were about 60 of these whales circling all around the boat.
Such beautiful conditions to watch these dolphins!
Dolphins were swimming all around the boat!
It was perhaps some of the best looks at Atlantic white-sided dolphins we have had all season and a phenomenal way to start our day.
Another snapshot of a few Atlantic-white sided dolphins
As we pressed on offshore we spotted a single spout out in the distance. Low and behold it was our same yet-to-be-named Humpback whale we have seen in the area over the past week.
First Humpback whale of the day
As we watched this whale swim in circles we spotted a pair of spouts just beyond some boats. We ventured in that direction and quickly realized there were actually three whales in this group. A trio of Humpback whales were traveling through the area. After a few looks we were able to match up their tail patterns to a few familiar whales and a newcomer to the area. Putter, Shuffleboard and Tumbleweed were spending time with one another.
It has been well over a month since we last saw Putter and we have yet to see Tumbleweed in our area all season. What a great find.
Tumbleweed, Putter and Shuffleboard cruising around together
We did some more searching and found another Humpback whale on our travels home. Turns out it was Repeat, a whale we saw last month, but have not seen recently in our area. Fantastic sightings, fantastic weather, and fantastic passengers to wrap up a pretty wonderful time out on the ocean this year. Thanks to all who joined us and shared in each and every special experience searching and watching some absolutely incredible massive mammals of the sea this season. We look forward to having you share in more moments in 2015!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday, October 11

It most certainly was a Fall-like day today. Cool temperatures and some raindrops to deal with reminded us that it is definitely not summer anymore. The lack of wind made for absolutely calm seas however, which is always a bonus when it comes to searching for whales. We ended up seeing 3 Humpback whales, a Minke whale and many, many pods of Harbor porpoise. The Minke whale was scooting around the outskirts of the area where we started with our first Humpback whale of the trip. This whale was slowly moving around area and turned out to be Jabiru.
We enjoyed watching this relaxed whale before we decided to do some exploring around the area. Our next whales turned out to be two new whales for us this year! A pair of Humpback whales were spending time side by side each other. After a few looks we were able to figure out it was Highlighter and Orbit.
It is always fun to find new animals for us, at any time of the year, but even more so now that we are down to the last few trips of the year. These wild whales really do utilize the Gulf of Maine for as long as possible before they migrate south for the winter and on any given day can provide new and exciting sightings!
Highlighter and Orbit slowly moving along

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday, October 10

What a beautiful day today. With a much calmer ocean than what is has been over the past few weeks and a crisp horizon gave us fantastic conditions for spotting whale activity today. Our first stop of the day was a Humpback whale.
Humpback whale dorsal fin
This particular whale has been spending some time in our area as we once again found it in a similar location to where we last saw it (this past Sunday). We got some very nice looks at this whale even though it was doing a bit of scooting around the area.
The black and white pattern found on this whale's tail (ventral side) is confirmation that it is the same whale first seen in our area in 2012 even though it has yet to get a proper name
Humpback whale tail (dorsal side)
As we were enjoying our time with this Humpback whale we learned of other whale activity out in the distance (thanks to our great fishing friends!). We made our way in that direction and soon came across a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins! These are always a crowd-pleasing sighting (for all ages!) and today was of no exception.
Atlantic white-sided dolphin
This group was just milling around, being so mellow, as we got some great looks from all angles around the boat.
Dolphins always puts a smile on all of our faces!
Eventually we pressed on and attempted to relocate a whale we had seen out in the distance but unfortunately this whale seemed to want nothing to do with us. We patiently surveyed the area but alas it appeared as though this whale had no desire to be watched. All we can do it try as it is always up to the whales, and their behaviors, that determines if we are fortunate enough to get a glimpse into their water world. We are now down to our last two trips of the season so here's hoping for good weather and some more sightings to be had over this coming holiday weekend!
Gorgeous sunset after a great day out on the water

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday, October 5

Happy October everyone! It has been a week since the weather has allowed us to venture out on the water. Lots and lots and LOTS of wind this week kept us on land and with the forecast being the best it has been all week, we decided to give it a try. While the ocean was still a bit bumpy from the week of weather, the whales seemed to not be fazed. We saw 3 Humpback whales and 2 Fin whales today. Our first whale was a single Humpback whale circling around the area. While this whale, and mostly all of our whales today, was spending a good amount of time under the water it would surface relatively close by.
First whale of the day
We saw this whale last week for the first time all season and still have yet to match it to a known animal in the catalog. So until we figure out exactly who this whale is it was certainly nice regardless to find it once again spending time in our area.
Humpback whale swimming alongside us (above and below)
Soon we pressed on and ended up finding a pair of Fin whales on the move. These two enormous mammals were definitely traveling but we were lucky to see both of them cruise right alongside us at one point.
Close pass by this Fin whale!
As one of these whales went on a deeper dive we instantaneously recognized such a familiar animal. It was Dingle! We last saw this animal just over a month ago, on September 3rd to be exact. What a great surprise to find this whale once again in our area!
Great to see Dingle once again today!
While these Fin whales continued to move along we decided to venture off in a different direction. Our last sighting of the day was another pair, this time a Humpback whale pair. Shuffleboard and Springboard were slowly moving around together. We spent a bit of time with these whales before it was time to head for home.
Springboard and Shuffleboard
We are down to our last week of whale watching for the 2014 season. Hopefully the weather cooperates and we get back out on the water a few more times before we wrap up another year of watching whales!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sunday, September 28

The whales and weather were spectacular once again today. While we have no control as to what the weather or whales may do at any time, when they both come together in good terms it certainly is quite the day. Today we started with a single Humpback whale. It was Repeat, a new visitor to the area this season. To be even more specific this particular whale has not been seen in the Jeffreys Ledge region for over 6 years!
Repeat's almost all black tail. Great to see you again Repeat!
What a nice surprise to have this whale spending time in our area and a great first sighting of the day. As we spent time with Repeat we suddenly had a Fin whale appear off our port side. With such nice looks at Repeat we decided to check out this Fin whale before heading further offshore.
This Fin whale was previously entangled at one point of its life as the prominent scars on this whale's body is a direct result of such an event
As we pressed on we ended up passing a pair of Fin whales moving in the opposite direction we were trying to go. Soon we ended up coming across another pair of whales. It was a pair of Humpback whales, Jabiru and Shuffleboard, resting at the surface.
Jabiru and Shuffleboard
As these whales woke up and dove down none of us were ready for what happened next. Shuffleboard suddenly did a full body breach just off our port side! Not only once but twice!
The last bit of Shuffleboard's body above the surface after this whale breached clear out of the water!
As soon as this whale jumped out of the water it quickly went back to napping. Talk about being in the right place, at the right time, looking in the right direction. These behaviors definitely don't happen all the time and researchers do not even know why whales jump clear out of the water (though there are a few theories). Since all whales can and do this type of behavior at any moment in time any type of whale has the ability to breach. To witness it is certainly incredible that is for sure. These two whales mellowed down and so we ventured out of the area to do some more exploring. As we traveled along we saw a spout off one side of the boat and even more spouts ahead of us. We ended up spending time with a trio of Humpback whales.
Three Humpback whales resting at the surface
One of the whales never showed its unique tail pattern and while we have an idea who this third animal may be we have a bit more confirming to do. The other two whales in this group were Sword and Springboard.
Springboard and Sword
All three of these whales were also resting at the surface. As we spent time with these whales we saw another pair of Humpback whales out in the distance but unfortunately did not have time to venture in that direction. So instead we eased our way over to yet another pair of Humpback whales we were keeping an eye on just off our starboard side. Once we made our way to this pair we soon realized both of these whales were also new visitors to the region this season. Churn and Eruption were slowly moving around together.
Churn and Eruption
As we were out of time we left this pair and attempted to slowly pass the individual whale we had seen earlier on its own. Luckily this whale surfaced close by and we were able to snap a photo to document this whale's presence in the area. Unfortunately we have yet to be able to match up this whale's unique black and white tail pattern but we will keep you posted if we get a positive match soon.
Currently unknown single Humpback whale
In total we ended up seeing 3 Fin whales, 11 Humpback whale and 3 Minke whales on the outskirts of many of the areas we spent in offshore today. While the weather is looking much less ideal this coming week we will be sure to let you know how our next trip goes once we get back out on the water!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday, September 27

What a beautiful day! The weather was warm, the ocean was calm and if you didn't know it was actually Autumn you would for sure think it was a wonderful summer day out on the water today. With such gorgeous conditions watching whales was even that much more of a treat. And there certainly was plenty to look at! We saw lots and lots of Harbor seals out in the water, a few pods of Harbor porpoise and two types of baleen whales today. Our first whale of the day was a Fin whale. This massive creature was doing lots of tail stock rises, showcasing the back portion of its body over and over again for all to see. Turns out this grand whale is #0808, a whale first seen in 2008!
Fin whale #0808
Check out the images below to see a distinguishing characteristic of all Fin whales. The lower jaws on either side of all Fin whales are actually different colors!
The right side of all Fin whales have a white lower jaw

The left side of all Fin whales have a dark lower jaw
With some great looks at this extremely large mammal we pressed on to some of the other spouts we were seeing. Since there were a few other whale watching boats around and with plenty of spouts being seen out in the distance (and wanting to give the whales plenty of space) we by-passed two Humpback whales moving around on their own. Soon we came across a pair of sleeping whales. These two Humpback whales, Sword and Springboard, were just bobbing up and down with the gentle swell as they both remained quite stationary the majority of the time we were with them.
Sword and Springboard
A few times these whales definitely woke up as Sword flipper slapped and Buzzard did some tail slashing just below the waterline. Other than that these two whales were very mellow.
Sword's bright white flipper above the water while Springboard remains close by
Springboard contorting the back part of its body to thrash its tail from side to side while Sword can be seen in the background
We let these whales continue on napping as we maneuvered our way to a few other spouts we were seeing. It was another pair of Humpback whales: Quote and Buzzard.
These two whales also seemed to be quite mellow, napping most of the time. Such behaviors allow for some incredible looks at these medium-sized whales as they hover at the ocean's surface.
Quote resting at the surface while Buzzard's nose is at the surface with a small piece of seaweed on the tip of this whale's nose!

Buzzard and Quote
Before wrapping up the day we attempted to back track and try to find one of the other whales we had passed earlier in the trip. Instead most of us were witness to Springboard and Sword as both of them all of a sudden jumped clear out of the water! While this amazing sight happened out in the distance it was still incredibly impressive to see these adults breach right out of the water. It happened so suddenly and just this once that no one was ready with their cameras but wow what a memory. We made our way over to this pair once more just in case either whale decided to breach once again, but alas they decided once had been enough.
With some more nice looks at this pair moving around together we headed for home. On our travels home though we did get a chance to check out a good-sized Blue shark on the move. So much to look at and so much to enjoy today we wonder what tomorrow will bring!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday, September 26

As the season progresses into the Fall the whales are certainly continuing to spend time in our area as we saw 5 Minke whales and 7 Humpback whales during our trip today. We first started in an area where there were 3 Minke whales circling around. Soon we saw other whales out in the distance. All day we were seeing more and more spouts while we spent time with all of our whales. Along with the many Minkes seen during our travels we also spent time with our first Humpback whale of the day, Jabiru.
As this whale was travelling along we decided to check out another whale we were seeing out in the distance. It was Shuffleboard who was also traveling along. Before long we witnessed Jabiru move into the area and soon Shuffleboard and Jabiru became associated with each other.
Bonds form and disperse with ease out in the watery whale world and it is always enjoyable to witness the forming of pairs at least for a brief moment in time. One of the other whales we got a chance to spend time with was Sword.
The day was not over for we ended up coming across two pairs of Humpback whales before it was time to head home. First, Humpback whales Quote and Buzzard were seen moving around together. Quote was doing some napping while Buzzard was moving around a bit more and even tail breached once!
Quote and Buzzard
Our last sighting of the day was Spoon and Chromosome as Spoon was also seen napping at the surface while Chromsome spent the majority of its time maneuvering all around, on either side of Spoon.
If you look closely you can see Chromsome at the surface as this whale altered its course and began to swim behind where Spoon was napping at the surface (dorsal fin and back at the surface)

The weather and whales were certainly on the same wavelength today (all fantastic) so hopefully the trend continues on into the weekend!