Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday, September 25

Today I was reminded yet again as to why I love my job. Not just being a naturalist on a whale watch boat, but also being the research coordinator for a small non-profit that studies whales.  Today, during my wrap up in the harbor, I told our guests on board a snippet of information that we learned today regarding the social lives of whales.  For the rest you, you’ll have to wait to learn about our finding after we do a bit more data-sleuthing this winter.  But it’s really cool!!! 

Today we started off by looking at an ocean sunfish just a few miles from Rye Harbor.  This started off as a typical sighting with the sunfish just lazing at the surface as we gazed at its uniqueness. Then the big fish dove quickly, out of sight. Captain Pete told me to get ready to see it breach. I said, “Uh, OK…”.  Then, just as if our captain had this fish trained, it breached completely out of the water, not just once, but 3 times!! I have seen sunfish jump out of the water before, but never so predicted!!  Captain Pete had noticed this behavior several times before in his many years on the ocean and totally called it!  The sunfish is just hanging out, then it dives quickly out of sight, and then it breaches! So cool!!! Yet another little bit of knowledge I learned today!
Ocean Sunfish
 From there, we headed out to where the whales have been seen recently and soon came upon a pair of humpback whales and a small pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins. The whales were identified as Owl and Jabiru (named for a species of stork), who were also seen on yesterday’s trip. This pair was being pretty mellow, barely even lifting their flukes when they dove. The dolphins seemed to be tracking them underwater and staying right with them. It's also really cool that these 2 whales are both named after avian species!

Humpback whale, Owl, with a dolphin close by

Owl diving, Jabiru in the foreground
Then we spotted some more blows in the distance. We found another pair of humpback whales who we have yet to identify. A fifth blow was spotted nearby but we never got close looks at that mystery whale.  Fall whale watching continues to bring all sorts of surprises!!  I can’t wait to see what’s out there on Wednesday, our next trip!

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