Friday, July 22, 2016

Thursday, July 21

It never gets old spending time on the open ocean when you are surrounded by some of the most beautifully flat calm ocean conditions. Having the opportunity to see wildlife on top of that is quite exquisite.
Yep, never a bad way to start your day in conditions like this
This morning we had a first for the year. We had a grand slam of whale sightings! We were lucky to spend time with all four of the most common types of whales that spend time in the Jeffreys Ledge area. This morning we saw 9 Minke whales, 2 Humpback whales, 5 Fin whales and a pod of approximately 100 Atlantic white-sided dolphins! Our first sighting of the day was a Minke whale meandering around the area. Never a bad way to start the day with a cooperative whale!
One of our morning Minke whales
We pressed on and came across a pair of Humpback whales. It was Pinball and her calf. I am fairly certainly we were privy to a teaching moment between the pair for as we were approaching them mom was repeatedly doing a kick-feeding behavior and soon the calf was doing the same! Mom eventually stopped but the calf continued to smack its tail on the surface for most of the time we were with them. No lie, it was adorable.
Kick feeding behaviors from Pinball's calf (above and below)
Anyway, there were even two instances the calf breached but as they tend to be so unexpected, I was not able to capture those moments with the camera.
Pinball and her calf
Calf on its side (left) while Pinball is at the surface (right)
We let this pair continue on with their day and we moved on only to find more Minke whales and a pair of Fin whales. One of the whales in the pair was Crow. Great to know this whale continues to spend time in our area.
One of our two Fin whales in the pair
Crow the Fin whale
We also spent time with a single Fin whale and were about to check out two others when our captain saw LOTS of splashing out in the distance. We had a pod of 100 Atlantic white-sided dolphins!
Atlantic white-sided dolphin
Now these whales were on the move. And by that, I mean they were REALLY going places. This group consisting of lots of calves never stopped for a moment to circle around.
Constant splashes as these toothed-whales moved through the water
They seemed to be on a mission which is one of the reasons we don't see these types of whales as often as their baleen relatives. Dolphins can maintain their swift speed for such an extended amount of time that unless you happen to cross paths with their movements they can be VERY difficult to relocate on your own. It was a very special treat to end our trip with.

This afternoon we first started in an area where we had 3 Minke whales. We checked them out before moving along and coming across the same pair of Fin whales we spent time with this morning. Crow and 'friend' we sighted in a different location but still moving around together.
Afternoon pair of Fin whales
In total we had 3 Fin whales and 4 Minke whales during our travels. Eventually we made our way over to where Pinball and her calf were.
These whales were still in the area and being enjoyed by other vessels so we made sure to wait our turn so as to not overcrowd these wild animals. Pinball and her were extremely mellow, napping most of the time we were with them.
Picturesque conditions
Since they were not moving quickly we were able to truly appreciate their size (even though they are not one of the largest whales we typically see!) and natural movements in the watery world they call home.
Mom and calf going on deeper dives

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