Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tuesday, August 9

After so many years of searching for wildlife you would think it would take a lot to surprise us. And yet that is so far from the truth. The wild whales never cease to amaze us with their grace, movements, and appearances/disappearances at any given moment. Today's trips were just like that. With the phenomenally calm conditions this morning we decided it was a perfect day to do some exploring around some of the offshore areas of Jeffreys Ledge that have not been looked over recently. During our travels out we pass by 8+ Harbor seals, a Fin whale and a Minke whale before coming across a large pod of 150-200 Atlantic white-sided dolphins! These whales were so spread out that they could be seen in EVERY direction around the boat!
Atlantic white-sided dolphins
Atlantic white-sided dolphin calf!
We eventually moved on and made our way out to Jeffreys Ledge. While whale activity had been reported over the past week in the general region it has been a few days since knowing/hearing any other updates. We knew today provided our best chances of seeing anything around especially since we were surrounded by such beautiful conditions. We ended up finding a Fin whale but this whale was being far from cooperative for whale watching. This whale would surface for only a couple of breaths before disappearing for 6-10 minutes at a time. From a distant snapshot it is possible this whale was Fin whale #0813 but that will end up being confirmed this winter when we have time to truly analyze all the photos from this past season. Eventually, it was time to turn for home but our travels home provided their own surprises. We came across an Ocean sunfish before a spout was sighted in the distance (thanks Merry for always being on the lookout!).
Ocean sunfish
The whales we were seeing was a mother/calf Humpback whale pair. And guess who Mom was?
Who could it be?
It was Pinball! We last saw this pair on July 24th, so we were THRILLED to see them back inshore of Jeffreys Ledge this morning. What a fantastic way to end the trip.

This afternoon we were lucky enough to find Pinball and her calf again. However, this time the calf was being very active. The calf breached 30 times!!! Clearly, we got some spectacular looks.
Pinball's calf breaching while Pinball is at the surface
More breaching from Pinball's calf
Tail breach from the calf as Boon Island is in the background
We ended our day with yet another Humpback whale. Owl was circling the area, creating multiple bubble clouds.
Owl's very distinctive back (and unfortunately ship strike scar)
We even had a Minke whale surface nearby as we spent our last little bit of time offshore with Owl. What a day full of surprises!
S/V Oliver Hazard Perry at the Isle of Shoals

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