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!

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