Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thursday June 19

Today was certainly a grand day. Great weather, plenty of whales and while every sighting is a special moment we certainly had a few extra special sightings on our trips today. Our first whale of the day was a Minke whale as we ventured offshore.
This Minke whale has an incredibly unique dorsal fin!
This was just the beginning for soon we ended up in an area with 5 Fin whales. A few were circling around, a few were traveling through the area, and two were moving around side by side. One of the whales in the pair has been around on Jeffreys Ledge over the past week but definitely not in this particular region of the Ledge. Along side this whale was a very familiar Fin whale. #0622 has returned to Jeffreys Ledge for another year!
Fin whale #0622
This is the first time we have seen this whale this season and what fun to have it swimming in synchrony with another familiar whale of the season. We checked out a few of the other whales in the area before we needed to start heading for home.
Yet another Fin whale we spent time with today
A Fin whale and a few Wilson's Storm Petrels flying around as we started on our journey home
Along our way we spotted a Minke whale. It didn't take long to notice not only was there more than one Minke whale but one of these whales certainly appeared to be much smaller than the other. Almost as soon as we realized what we had come across our validation occurred. It was a mother and calf Minke whale pair!!!! Just to put this into perspective the crew and captain have never seen a mom/calf Minke whale pair in 20+ years!!!!
Mama Minke whale!

Minke whale calf
As we slowed down to check out this incredible sighting the calf started to act very "calf-like" as it poked its head out of the water, rolled on its side, and created plenty of white water with all its rolling activity.
Minke Mom's body and dorsal fin and a small white object in the foreground. That white patch is actually the "Minke mitten" of the calf's flipper. This calf is rolled over on its side with its flipper above the waterline!
Soon the calf began to surface close to mom as both of them circled around the area. Absolutely incredible and just goes to show at any moment at any time we can see some amazing wildlife on our trips.
Minke whale Mom (right) and calf (left) moving through the water together
This afternoon we started the trip with a Basking shark. A big shark inshore of the Ledge was a great way to get all of our passengers excited for the afternoon.
First Basking shark of the afternoon
Soon we were once again surrounded by Fin whales. At one point we had 4 whales all around us. Whale spouts in every direction. Awesome.
Great look at the white lower jaw of this Fin whale
Oh but that wasn't the only creature in the area. Low and behold ANOTHER Basking shark was swimming by.
Basking shark #2 of the day!
In general we often times do not see any sharks on our trips but today we were fortunate enough to check out TWO of the second largest sharks in the world. Fantastic.
The tip of the tail (left) and the dorsal fin (right) of our second Basking shark of the trip
Soon we went back to whale watching after checking out this other large fish and got some great looks at the Fin whales in the area.
One of the afternoon Fin whales
On our way home we even passed by a few more Fin whales. Whales here, there and everywhere!
Fin whale spout with Portsmouth, NH in the background

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