Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The lack of posts this week certainly is not due to any shortage of sightings! Busy busy. Recent trips have included a variety of marine life that we are so lucky to have spend time in our area during the season. Minke whales, humpback whales, fin whales, a scattering of Atlantic white-sided dolphins and even a few ocean sunfish have been seen! Known humpback whales have included Dyad and her 2018 calf, Pitcher and Bombay. Fin whales have included Ladder, Blunt and #0720!

This morning we saw three ocean sunfish, seven minke whales, a small pod of 6-8 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, a distant glimpse of a fin whale and four humpback whales. Our trip started with an ocean sunfish before finding a minke whale shortly thereafter.
Ocean sunfish swimming by
Minke whale
While watching this minke whale a small pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins popped up!
A few Atlantic white-sided dolphins at the surface
We then pressed on further offshore and among all the other minke whales around we found a few humpback whales. Unfortunately, all of these whales were holding their breath for a LONG time. Dives of 15+ minutes was typical and only a few breaths at the surface made some of these whales much more challenging to keep track of even with the stunning ocean conditions. Oh well. Such is the case with wildlife. We are on their schedules and witness only what they decide they want to do. We were able to identify these whales as Pitcher, Jumanji, Tear and Abrasion.
Humpback whale flipper

Whale tail
This afternoon we saw seven minke whales. We also came across four fin whales, including a pair. We started with Blunt circling around the area. Then we found Crow and #1031 associated with each other.
Fin whales Crow and #1031
Fin whale spout
To top off these sightings we spotted Comet nearby! Not only are all of these whales great individuals on their own they were only remaining under the water for a few minutes at a time. We got some fin-tastic looks at these enormous mammals!
The trip wrapped up with a group of 20-25 Atlantic white-sided dolphins. What a great ending to beautiful day on the water!
More dolphins

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Saturday, July 28, 2018

There was a variety of life to be seen today which is one of the many reasons why we love Jeffreys Ledge. Such a plethora of possibilities! This morning we saw eight minke whales, humpback whales Dyad and her 2018 calf, an ocean sunfish and a brief glimpse of a white-beaked dolphin!
Minke whale
Humpback whale diving
An ocean sunfish trying to blend in
Minimal wind made the ocean surface so flat you could enjoy any, and all life, that showed itself.
Minke whale surfacing
Dyad and her calf
Unfortunately, the lone white-beaked dolphin was so unpredictable I was unable to capture any photos. I wonder if it is the same one we sighted almost two weeks ago on July 16, 2018? Regardless, what a very unexpected surprise.

This afternoon we saw three minke whales, a trio of fin whales and Dyad and her calf again. Our fin whales were on the move and impressive to watch synchronizing their movements together.
Massive fin whale bodies above the waterline
Two of our fin whales have been identified as Ladder and #0354. Both familiar whales for the area and fun finds to see!
Ladder the fin whale!
Two of our three fin whales, including #0354 in the foreground
Our humpback whale pair we spent time with later on in the trip, Dyad and her calf, were seen nursing for a short period of time.
Dyad's calf (left) and Dyad (right)
Another added bonus for the day was the bird life we sighted. A scattering of petrels, shearwaters (cory's, greats and a manx!) and gannets were sighted.
Petrels "dancing" on the surface this morning
We also had our first sightings of a jaeger, two to be exact, this afternoon! Can't wait to see what the open ocean has in store for us tomorrow!
Our two jaegers on the move

Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday, July 27, 2018

The fog threatened to defeat us this morning but we rallied and showed it who was boss! Well, sort of. If only we could control the weather and Mother Nature! We found an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) close to shore and got great looks at this odd-looking creature. 
Ocean Sunfish

Then we found an elusive pod of a dozen Atlantic white sided dolphins.
Atlantic white sided dolphin

 Next was a minke whale, and then another!  
minke whale

Suddenly we saw a few blows ahead of us. This turned out to be a trio of fin whales! Seeing one of the 2nd largest animals on the planet is always amazing, but to have 3 of them together was extra awesome! One of the whales was #0354. Still working to verify the other two.  
2 fin whales

On our way home we passed a couple more minke whales and a pod of harbor porpoises!

This afternoon took us further south. By this time, the wind had blown the fog away and we found another pod of harbor porpoises before seeing the humpback whale named Hornbill!  A minke was in the area too but we tried to keep tabs on Hornbill. Hornbill was being typical Hornbill- only fluking every other dive! 
Hornbill diving
 We then ventured on and passed another minke whale and then found a pair of humpback whales! These were Nine and Milkyway, yet again! This dynamic duo has been together for 3 weeks now! 


Normally, humpbacks are solitary, only forming groups from time to time, and usually only for a short time. Interesting to see these 2 ladies spending so much time together!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wed, July 25, 2018

Although our journey out to the whales may have been a little bumpy and wet, we were rewarded by some amazing sightings!  Spoon and her calf were the first pair of humpback whales that we saw. I LOVE Spoon!  I adopted her when I was in high school (just a few years ago….ahem…) and have been tracking her ever since! Spoon is known for being a very large, and very lazy whale. Today she was anything but lazy. We watched as bubble clouds would rise to the surface and she would charge through them, catching all the little fish that were trapped in the cloud! And to make it even more amazing, her calf was mimicking her behavior even though it is still likely nursing.

Then we saw some splashing not too far away. This was Jabiru’s newest calf creating quite the commotion.  The calf rolled around, slapping its flippers, tail breaching, head breaching and doing all sorts of fun above-the-surface activities! The calf entertained us (probably just trying to get mom’s attention) while Jabiru herself was taking long dives and not surfacing all that often. We got one nice look at her tail so we know it was her!

Continuing on, we found a pair of adult humpback females, Nine and Milkyway. These two have been together for a couple of weeks now! As we waited for them to come back up, yet another mother/calf pair appeared, and just as suddenly, disappeared!   We got one more look at Nine and Milkyway before riding the following seas back to Rye.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

We left the dock and came home to the dock in the fog during our morning trip. As is the case with fog sometimes it dissipates to help spot, stay, and watch whales. And even when the fog socked back in whales seemed to pass by us! This morning we saw three minke whales during our travels. We also checked out a pair of fin whales.
Pair of fin whales at the surface

Fin whales are so huge!
Because these whales dorsal fins are so uniquely-shaped we were able to identify both fin whales: #0354 and #0932!
Fin whale #0354 uniquely shaped dorsal fin
After some great gazing at these mammoth mammals we saw five humpback whales. First, Hornbill was busy creating a few bubble clouds in the area.
The fog started to creep back in and before we headed for home we checked out Spoon and her 2018 calf.
Spoon in the fog
The next time the whales surfaced it wasn't Spoon or her calf at all. Nine and Milkyway the humpback whales were swimming by.
Milkyway diving in even thicker fog
You never know what is going to pop up regardless of the visibility! This afternoon the fog was pushed away by the persistent wind and we found Jabiru and her 2018 calf in the area. These two were slowly traveling along.
Jabiru and her 2018 calf
Calf swimming through the waves
The calf got a bit wiggly and breached and flipper-slapped a few times. We even watched a Lion's Mane jellyfish mosey past the boat.
Jabiru's calf flipper-slapping
Just goes to show we never really know what we are going to find when we are surrounded by Mother Nature and all the wildlife that exists!
Lion's Mane jellyfish

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Saturday, July 21, 2018

There has been so much life inshore of Jeffreys Ledge recently and today was no different. This morning we saw six minke whales, including Finke(!), five humpback whales and a brief glance at a fin whale. We started with Rhino the humpback whale darting around as minke whales popped up on the outskirts of the area.
Fin-less minke or "Finke" we like to call it!
Another minke whale sighted this morning. This time with a dorsal fin.
Rhino the humpback whale
We ultimately came into an area where a trio of humpback whales were, but almost immediately regretted being there as soon as we arrived. The fleet of recreational boats swarming around these mammals was stressful. We can only hope those who are lucky enough to own a boat are responsible enough to know how to safely maneuver around creatures of the sea, know what signs to look for and be vigilant on the water knowing whales reside in the area at this time of year. We eased out of the area as soon as possible after seeing Clamp, Nine and Milkyway at the surface.
Milkyway and Clamp at the surface
After more searching and ultimately heading to another whale report we got side-tracked. Another humpback whale was being extremely active. This whale was breaching, flipper-slapping and creating quite the spectacle.
Humpback whale launching itself out of the water!

White flipper in the air
This whale was being so active only a few miles off the mainland
After these impressive displays we headed for home. During our travels we even spotted a fin whale out in the distance.

This afternoon we started whale watching with a pair of fin whales. These whales were on the move but we were able to get some good looks at the second largest animals on Earth.
One of the fin whale's in our pair

The other fin whale in our pair
We also found another fin whale moving through the area and six minke whales during the trip.
Minke whale
The day wrapped up with a mother-calf humpback whale pair. These whales are new visitors to the area this season. Jabiru and her 2018 calf we slowly moving about! The calf even flipper-slapped briefly while watching this pair.
Jabiru and her calf the the surface
Calf's flipper
Jabiru's calf diving