Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday, July 22

What a difference a few hours make. We spent our time today inshore of Jeffreys Ledge because we found whales so close to home. However, that might be the only similarity of the day for everything we saw today was as unique as can be. This morning we saw 5 Harbor seals, 6 Minke whales and 2 Fin whales. Our Minke whales were great, most of them circling around the area getting some really nice looks at them.
One of our Minke whales seen
Minke whale just breaking the surface to get a breath of air. You can see the "Minke mittens" just below the surface (white patches found on the flippers of all Minke whales)
With some extremely uniquely shaped dorsal fins not only can we easily tell Minke whales apart from each other we can also keep track of them year after year. A few of the whales we saw today have recently been seen this season as well as over the past couple of years!
This Minke whale was seen yesterday as well as in the 2012 and 2013 seasons!
We saw this same Minke whale almost exactly a month ago, on June 19 of this season!
We also got a chance to see an extremely curious and bold Harbor seal. This marine mammal swam right towards us and circled around the boat apparently not fazed by all of us, and the vessel, checking it out!
This Harbor seal decided to come check us out!
It was by far the best look at a Harbor seal we have seen in a very long time; meaning this was by far a very non-normal sighting!
Well hello there Harbor seal!
To add even more interesting sights to the trip we came across a pair of Fin whales. Initially these animals were moving around independently of each other; within the same general area but by no means associated with one another. Soon they changed up their behaviors and started to travel along synchronizing their movements together.
Fin whales moving through the water together just off the coast of NH!
This association lasted for only a bit of time before we once again watched these whales separate and head off in completely different directions.
One of the two Fin whales seen this morning; Fin whale #1008
A very familiar dorsal fin of our second Fin whale...Fjord is in our area for yet another feeding season this year!!
As much as we love watching whales the intricate behaviors and movements any whale can suddenly produce is equally as fascinating as we watch these wild animals maneuver through their natural habitats. Call us geeks, nerds, or just plan weird but by watching and recording all that we see we continually learn about these incredibly massive creatures.
Our Fin whales following behind one another
This afternoon we first came across a Fin whale. This whale was also only a few miles off the coastline. However, this whale was on a mission. The entire time we spent watching this whale it was traveling through the area. At first we believed it to be one of the pair we had seen in the morning but upon closer inspection of it's dorsal fin and chevron pattern (what we use to tell one Fin whale apart from another) it turned out this was a completely different whale than either of the ones we had seen on our morning trip. Where had this whale come from and where had the other two gone? Who knows but it was certainly great to see this whale moving through the area.
Afternoon Fin whale swimming just past the mouth of the Merrimack River, MA!
Fin whale on the move
We continued on to other areas where whales had recently been sighted but unfortunately we came up short with other whale sightings. In just a few hours difference the whales we had seen in the morning had completely disappeared for us. Whales certainly have a way of reminding us that even though we may know a lot about them there is still a lot that remains a mystery as they move in, around, and out of any area at any moment in time.

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