Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday, July 25

Awesome day today with whales VERY close to home!!   It is really rare for us to be watching whales in about 80 feet of water, with houses, not just land, in the background!

During our morning trip, we saw several small pods of harbor porpoises on our way out. Then we saw a minke whale and spent a bit of time with it. This one I’m certain we’ve seen before- it has a pretty good-sized nick in its fin.   

First minke with notched fin
 Next, we saw another minke whale, and then passed by 4 more minkes!   

Second minke- cool gray coloring!
 We saw two harbor seals, one of which was lounging on a fishing buoy like it was its own personal floatie toy!  How ingenious!!
Harbor seal resting on a "high flyer" buoy
 Then we got a report of a larger whale just behind the Isle of Shoals. There we found 2 fin whales; the first of which was first documented in 2012, and the second was first seen in 2010.   Another minke whale popped up to surprise us as well!
Fin whale's beautiful chevron marking!
Fin whale first seen in 2013 with "flower" marking

Fin whale really close to shore- check out the Seabrook power plant and bridge in the background!

Such a great morning trip!    We headed back to those inshore areas for our afternoon trip. Within about a half hour of leaving the harbor, we were looking at a huge fin whale!! It really is nuts that we have been seeing whales so close to shore lately! But the fish seem to be here, and the whales will follow the fish.  The first fin whale we found was Fjord!! He is one of our whales available for adoption!! We have been watching Fjord since 1996, although his first sighting dates back to 1981!

We headed in a bit from there to see a whale that our friends on the Atlantic Queen had found. This was the same whale we saw on the morning trip- #1008! 
Fin whale #1008's chevron pattern

#1008 close to shore!

 As we were pretty much reading the street signs on land while watching whales, we decided to venture offshore a bit in search of any other forms of marine life. We did see several species of offshore birds including shearwaters and petrels, and even a couple gannets.   
Gannet taking off
We spotted a third fin whale but this one wasn’t all that cooperative so we kept going.  Eventually it was time to start heading for home, but we decided to pass by the area where we saw the coastal fin whales earlier. We did see a blow just a few miles from Rye Harbor. But this wasn’t one of the whales we had seen earlier. This was Comet, another one of our adoptable fin whales!! Where had she been all day?  Certainly a great finale to our day!

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