Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday, May 17

We once again did quite a bit of searching before we came across whales today but we certainly were not anticipating all that we saw. We had a GRAND SLAM of sightings with 4 different species of whales. We started with a couple elusive Minke whales and after moving through the fog we eventually spotted some more life. The best part was there were many more whales in the area than what we originally realized. We were surrounded by Sei whales!
Sei whale dorsal fin
We can go entire seasons without seeing a single Sei whale so to have 17 of them around was quite the sight. And they were all feeding! These whales were skim feeding by opening their mouths, stretching them wide out, in order to trap as much food as possible in their enormous mouths.
Snout of a skim feeding Sei whale
Pink lower jaw of a Sei whale as it swims on its side
Sei whales are the fastest baleen whales in the ocean so when these whales are on the move they can be very tricky to keep up with. But not today. They were being extremely mellow as they were most likely chowing down on tiny animal plankton seen below.
Animal plankton called Copepods
What a sight as we watched whales moving back and forth crossing paths constantly in such beautiful ocean conditions.
Sleek head of a Sei whale

Wide, wide, WIDE open mouth of a Sei whale on its side with its lower jaw extended outward to help scoop up as much food as possible
Those dark marks on the surface are 3 skim feeding Sei whales
We were far from home and knew it was time to go but the whales apparently weren't done. On our way home we found a pod of 15 Atlantic white-sided dolphins. Wow, what a treat!
Jumping Atlantic white-sided dolphin
But there was apparently one more type of whale to be found. As we continued on home we came across a Humpback whale named Tether.
You know when the crew is elated with the day it was a good day and today was a good day.

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