Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday, October 10

With today being our final public trip for the season we could not have asked for a more impressive whale-experience to finish with. The weather kept us on our toes longer than we were hoping but the wind eventually decided to slack off as we spent time offshore watching plenty of wildlife today. We saw 14 Humpback whales around the boat with even more spouts out in the distance! There was even a harbor seal sleeping and a brief look at 3 Atlantic white-sided dolphins during our travels. Each time we stopped to check out a sighting the whales were grouped up in pairs, trios and at one point even five on the move together! We saw whales napping, nursing, tail breaching, rolling over, flipper slapping, tail slashing, spy-hopping and being quite curious about the boat. We were surrounded by some phenomenal sights and sounds from these wild animals. Among all our whales were some familiar tails and, once again, more new whales moving into the area. We saw Spoon and her calf, Patches, Sword, Victim, Repeat, Cloud, Geometry, Daffodil, Shuffleboard and her calf, Churn, Pleats and A-plus!
Spoon and her calf

Sword tail breaching
Victim and Sword
All throughout the trip there was so much to look at and experience.
Multiple flippers by multiple whales in the air

Our group of 5 whales eventually parted ways and separated into a pair and a curious trio heading our way!
At one point we were held hostage by a trio of whales as they decided to come check us out rather than us just checking them out. We literally could not move as they turned and moved right towards us, surfaced and sank right next to us and swam circles around us.
Rainbow-blow by Shuffleboard's calf

Shuffleboard spy-hopping
Calf swimming down the side of the boat
Incoming Humpback whale!
These whales were so close photos were near impossible to capture with too big a lens on! The memories however, were incredible.
Trio surfacing so close to us
Whale tails (above and below)

We also want to take this time to pass along the many thanks to all of you who joined us over the course of this season. It could not have been a successful year without you. We are passionate about what we do and know so many of you share in the same amazement and awe of these wild animals. We hope you all have enjoyed your special moments and memories we hopefully helped to create while out on your adventure. Each year, it seems that we have more and more familiar faces returning and for that, we thank you. These whales have a way of capturing our eyes, hearts and souls and capturing those experiences with all of you is what we strive to do on every single one of our trips. Please have a safe winter and see you all in 2016!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday, October 7

The wind and waves have been keeping us attached to the dock this past week so you can imagine how excited we were to have the weather-window finally open so we could get back to the open ocean to look for whales! Anytime a big weather pattern keeps us on land we are eager (and extremely anxious!) to see what may, or may not, be out in the area where we last saw whales. The ocean gets extremely churned up and can cause whale-food to congregate more tightly together, can shift areas or completely disperse all together. Alas, the whales were waiting for us in similar locations to where we have been seeing them over the past month. Perhaps even more exciting was seeing some of the familiar tails we've had in the area recently but also some new whales that we have not spotted in our area at all this season. In total we came across 10 Humpback whales, 2 Minke whales and 4 Harbor seals. Our Minke whales were on the outskirts of the area as we moved around all the whale activity today with harbor seals popping up here and there as well. We started with a sleepy mother and her calf Humpback whale pair. Shuffleboard and her calf were resting at the surface the entire time we watched them.
Shuffleboard and her calf
 We then headed a bit further offshore and came across a trio of whales. Clipper, Sword and Clamp were all slowly moving through the area together!

Sword, Clamp and Clipper at the surface in such beautiful ocean conditions
These are very well-known whales to the area so to see them spending time with one another was certainly a special treat! With some phenomenal looks at these whales we headed to another trio as we watched out in the distance, and a few times once on scene, some breaching! Daffodil, Repeat and Geometry were swimming around together. It was Geometry that continued to be the active whale rolling and flipper slapping the majority of the time we watched this group of whales maneuver around.
Geometry's massive flipper

Repeat, Daffodil and Geometry (flipper in the air)
Humpback whale breach! Thanks GS crew member #0489 for capturing this moment!
To round out an already wonderful day we got a few quick looks at Owl and her calf before heading back to Rye Harbor.
Owl and her calf slowly moving past the boat
This coming weekend is our last weekend for the 2015 season. We hope the weather cooperates so we can get back out there for one last "whale-fix" seeing what/where/who may be spending time in the area!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday, September 29

Our day started off with some dense fog and ended with storm preparations for the upcoming weather event, but in between, we had an incredible day of whale watching!

We headed back to the area where we found whales yesterday and just as we slowed down, two humpback whales appeared out of the fog! Sometimes we just get lucky!  To make it even better, the whales were Owl with her calf.  Owl is one of our favorites and is even featured in our brochure!

Owl and her calf in the fog
These two would surface close by, and then they split up for a bit before getting back together.At one point, Owl turned toward the boat and dove right below us.
Owl turning towards us!


"Fish Finder" showing Owl diving below the boat!
Also in the same area was the humpback named Hornbill. Hornbill surprised us by showing up out of no where and sticking around our small area of visibility while Owl and her calf moved away into the fog.

As we made our way out past the tuna boats, we found Owl and her calf again.  As we searched around, we found a spot with better visibility and even a whale! This was Geometry! At first he slapped his flipper once, and then dove. We waited and waited but didn't see him again.

Then on our way home, we came upon a big ocean sunfish! We have been seeing many sunfish this season which has been a real treat for us as well as our guests!

Ocean Sunfish
Sea bird sightings were also pretty good with many northern gannets, a few northern fulmars and several shearwaters (Cory's and great).  With the forecasted wind and rain, it looks like we will be tied to the dock for at least a few days but we are looking forward to what October will bring!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday, September 28

Another wonderful autumn day!  Today we saw 11 humpback whales (8 up close), 2 minke whales, over 100 Atlantic white sided dolphins and an ocean sunfish!  Our humpbacks included 3 mother and calf pairs (Moms were Spoon, Owl and Shuffleboard) as well as Hornbill, and then Partition who was hanging out with Shuffleboard and her calf.  The dolphins were quite amazing as they were feeding with 100’s of seabirds including northern gannets, Cory’s shearwaters, great shearwaters and gulls.

Spoon' calf was rolling around and playing with seaweed!
Spoon's calf

Owl and her calf spent a bunch of time resting at the surface.
Owl and her calf

The pod of dolphins included lots of calves!
Atlantic white sided dolphin calf

Hornbill was blowing bubble clouds in the same area where the trio of whales was. Must have been some awesome food!

Hornbill on the outskirts

Minke whale
The trio of humpbacks included Shuffleboard and her calf along with Partition who was sporting some recent injuries, possibly from an entanglement.
humpback diving


Shuffleboard and her calf
This interesting-looking fish rounded out the trip!
Ocean sunfish

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday, September 27

What a difference a day makes! We attempted to search for whales yesterday but were sent home early by steep waves and lots of wind.  Today, just a low roll was leftover and the whales were still around the same areas where we had them earlier in the week!  We had some very quick looks at harbor porpoises and a harbor seal on our trip out. Then we spotted some blows.  Humpback whales Shuffleboard and her calf were here again, and the calf was pretty playful as Shuffleboard took longer dives. The calf would roll at the surface, lifting its flipper up, and then bring its head up pretty high out of the water to get a good look around. At one point, the calf came right over to the boat and we could see the whole whale underwater, right next to us! Amazing.
Shuffleboard's calf- see the eye??

We continued on to some more blows nearby. These were from a trio of humpbacks, Owl, her calf, and Geometry. The adults would dive and Owl’s calf would lounge at the surface, often playing with seaweed. The behavior is technically known as “kelping”. It was really fun to watch this little whale make tight turns to target the seaweed! 
Owl and her calf

Owl's calf playing with seaweed



An ocean sunfish was in the area as well but it dove soon after we attempted to get some views of it. The sunfish have been quite prevalent this summer.

Next we headed towards the fleet of tuna boats where we had spotted a blow earlier. Although we never found this lone whale, we did re-sight Shuffleboard and her calf along with a minke whale and harbor seal before it was time to head for home.   The day was really such a welcomed change from yesterday!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday, September 23

Happy first day of fall!  Today was a wonderful start to the official fall season with 7 humpback whales, 3 minke whales, and ocean sunfish and several seals! 

A humpback whale trio started the trip: Spoon, her calf, and Canine were resting at the surface, and then Canine woke up a bit, with a few spy-hops, tail lobs and flicks. The calf rolled around at the surface a bit but mother Spoon and her calf were pretty sleepy…typical Spoon style!

As we continued on, we passed by a minke whale, a harbor seal and a gray seal!  Then we spotted another pair of blows- 2 more humpback whales! These were Tornado and Sigma. This pair has been together for about a week now. Sigma was busy slapping its flipper on the surface, creating a loud bang, while Tornado did a little slapping herself but not nearly as much as Sigma.

Soon we found another pair of humpback whales: Geometry and Chromosome. We’ve seen Geometry quite a bit this season but Chromosome hasn’t been around since June!  Geometry was chin-breaching when we first spotted him, and then when Chromosome joined, the two began to slowly swim together just below the surface.

As we were leaving, we spotted 2 minke whales and an ocean sunfish! We got some great looks at the sunfish in particular and then decided it was really time to head home. 

But then we saw some big splashes not too far away! A humpback whale was breaching! Sometimes a whale will only breach once and then it’s done so we didn’t rush over to it. But this whale was breaching consistently so we altered course to check it out. It was Spoon’s calf causing the ruckus! Spoon was nearby but pretty mellow, while the calf would flipper-slap, dive and then breach out of the water. Amazing!!

We passed by another harbor seal on the way home. What a truly awesome trip!  I wish every trip could be this incredible!