Sunday, May 14, 2017

Welcome to the 2017 season!

The time has finally arrived for another season of whale watching! Winter can soon become a distant memory as we switch gears to summer sun and searching for whales. Granted the summer weather is far from arriving as we headed out in gray skies and air temperatures of 48 degrees on the water yesterday! Luckily for us though the whales are busy using the cold and productive feeding grounds offshore. Excitement to be back on the water, wondrous of what/who we might find and eagerness to explore some familiar areas were just some of the emotions going through our minds, and that was just the crew! The day started with a large and slightly elusive fin whale. We caught some glimpses of this massive whale before it continued traveling along and we were anxious to get out to Jeffreys Ledge. Thanks to our research friends at Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation who tirelessly maintain a Fin Whale Catalog of the Jeffreys Ledge area, we were able to match up our first whale of the season to a fin whale first spotted in this region in 2008!
First whale of the 2017 season: Fin whale #0813
As our travels took us onward we ended up checking out, and passing by, a total of 5 minke whales for the day. We also spent some time with another massive fin whale. This was another familiar "friend" for us. Fin whale #9709, a known female, was seen circling around the area. This whale has been spotted over the years since 1997!
Fin whale #9709
We soon spent some time searching around and ended up seeing a different species out in the distance. It was a humpback whale and one we did not recognize right away. After some sleuthing through the Humpback Whale Catalog we were able to match this newcomer to Doublet, a whale that is most often sighted off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada!
Doublet the humpback whale
We always say the whales are constantly moving around the Gulf of Maine searching for food. Perhaps this whale decided to stop for a quick meal or two in our part of the ocean before venturing on north!
Humpback whale at the surface
Our last whale of the day was a VERY familiar whale to us. It was Hornbill the humpback whale; an adoptable whale.
It never gets old being lucky enough to find an old "friend" in the great big ocean. Great to see you again Hornbill!
But Hornbill was not just swimming around like we see most whales do. This whale was actively breaching! What a sight from such a familiar whale and the perfect ending to our first trip of the year.
Beautiful breaches by Hornbill (above and below)

Hornbill's large flippers
Our whale watches are currently running on weekends. Visit to see our full summer schedule. Don't forget to check back on our blog for images and wrap-ups from our trips this season. And finally, if you are on Facebook, we also post our findings and photos for you to enjoy, and reminisce, about your time on board with us: Granite State on Facebook. Here's to 2017!

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