Sunday, June 30, 2019

June 29-30, 2019

On Saturday we saw basking sharks and humpback whales on both of our trips. In the morning two basking sharks were sighted as we made our way out towards Jeffreys Ledge. We then spent time with two humpback whales: Lascaux and Tusk.
Morning basking shark's dorsal fin
Humpback whale
During the afternoon trip, we once again found a basking shark on our way offshore and then saw seven humpback whales.
Dorsal fin (left) and tail (right) of our afternoon basking shark
Included in our whales was Pinball and her calf. The calf was wiggling all around at the surface and provided some great looks and these wild animals. Additional whales included Hornbill, Nuke, Lascaux, Solas and Scarp.
Pinball's calf in the process of flipper-slapping
Pinball and her 2019 calf
On Sunday, we only had a morning trip. In glass calm conditions we headed back out to the Ledge. On our travels out, we passed multiple harbor seals and two minke whales. Once on Jeffreys we came across Tusk the humpback whale in association with a small pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins.
Humpback whale and dolphins swimming together!

Further offshore we then found five other humpback whales including Clamp, Tripod, Palmer-Crary and a distant view of Pinball and her calf.
Another trip and another different whale showing up in the offshore regions; Clamp!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

June 27-28, 2019

The past couple of days have been long rides to where the whales have been most prominent.  But the trek has been well worth it! Even when we have started out in foggy conditions, the fog miraculously lifted just in time for us to see blows from whales in all directions.  On Thursday morning, we found Atlantic white sided dolphins to start the trip. Then we began seeing blows from humpback whales not far away!  Most of the humpbacks we identified were adult males including the brothers Slingshot and Sword!  

As we were just about to leave the humpbacks to start home, the dolphins surprised us and showed up with the humpbacks for some lovely last looks! 

Thursday afternoon’s trip was similar to the morning trip in that we saw Atlantic white sided dolphins and humpbacks, however some of the individual humpbacks that we identified were different! 

There are certainly a lot of whales in this neck of the woods! The dolphins showed up at the end of our time with the humpbacks and even briefly associated with Sword. 

At one point, a dolphin even leaped right over the nose of Sword as he was coming up for a breath! The fog began to roll back in so we knew it was time to go home.

Friday morning was glassy calf. We spotted the fin of an ocean sunfish, and after a bit of searching, were able to get close to it so everyone could get a good look at this unique-looking animal. A couple of seals and a couple of harbor porpoises were also easy to see in the calm ocean. Then we got to the area where the big whales have been hanging out. This time, our sightings of humpback whales were dominated by adult females!  

Valley and Bayou were together, and then we saw Fan and Quote together.  We even got a look at a huge fin whale cruising through the area!

Off in the distance, we could see a whale breaching, and another whale flipper slapping. They were pretty far away. Someone asked if I got a photo of the breach. Yes! Here it is! ;)

 Friday afternoon, humpbacks ruled the sightings yet again. We identified at least 9 individuals, all of which were not seen on the past 3 trips! Tripod and Chromosome were together, which was really interesting. In 2009, this pair was seen together 18 times over the course of a month and a half. These long term associations are really rare. 
Chromosome playing with a bit of seaweed on his nose!
On our start for home, we saw another pair of humpbacks. We didn’t have much time to investigate since we had a lighthouse cruise scheduled for the evening, but we stayed just long enough to identify these as Pinball and her frisky calf!  We haven’t seen that pair in nearly a month so we were psyched to see them again today!
Pinball's calf flipper-slapping

Pinball's 2019 calf!!

Over the past two days, we spent time with over 22 different humpback whales, and since Monday, we have seen over 37 different humpback whales!!

For the bird enthusiasts, puffins, sooty shearwaters, great shearwaters, northern gannets and Wilson’s storm petrels have been sighted!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

June 24-26, 2019

On Monday we took a chance and headed to a completely different, and distant, part of Jeffreys Ledge. We had yet to venture to this region of Jeffreys Ledge all season, but recent reports were coming in of whale activity. What we found was so much more than what we expected! In total, we saw 17 different humpback whales for the day. During the morning trip 13 individuals were photographed along with our first ocean sunfish for the season and a small pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins.
Pair of humpback whales
Diving whales (above and below)

In the afternoon, eight humpback whales surrounded us. Note, some overlap of individuals occurred between the two trips.
Two whales surface side-by-side each other
Humpback whale diving
Individuals for the day included Chromosome, Bungee, Ditto, Mocha, Slingshot, Valley, Spoon, Tusk, Sigma, Decimal, Squiggle, Lagoon, Fan, Clipper, Littlespot, Downsweep and Solas. Sometimes our 'adventurous' spirit pays off and sometimes it does not. But today, the weather and the whales were on our side.

We only had one trip on Tuesday and were fortunate to once again make the journey far offshore. Fourteen humpback whales were documented as pairs and trios came together and broke apart throughout our time in the area.

Individuals included Decimal, Grommet, Downsweep, Slingshot, Solas, Nine, Chromosome, Bungee, Picket, Quote, Nuke, Patches, Clipper and Littespot.
We even saw a pod of 40-50 Atlantic white-sided dolphins on our travels home.
Such a small dolphin!
So many factors play into where we head to on any given day. On Wednesday, we traveled to a similar area and found plenty of life. Heading offshore in the morning we had a trifecta of shearwaters: cory's (1st of the season!), greats and sooty shearwaters. On both our morning and afternoon trips we saw 11 humpback whales. During the morning individuals included Solas, Tripod, Decimal, Yurt, Littlespot, Badge, Clipper, Patches, Equation, Churn and Tusk.
Pair of whales during our morning trip

Our afternoon whales were Slingshot, Badge, Solas, Sedge, Palmer-Crary, Clipper, Littlespot, Quote, Yurt, Valley and Tusk.
Fog rolled through in varying levels this afternoon as we spent time with so many wild animals
Humpback whale diving in the foreground while two more surface in the background
The day wrapped up with a quick sighting of a grey seal.
Grey seal
Each trip, each day, we are finding different whales. While many whales are being seen, and the food plentiful, one day the food will be eaten and these animals will scatter to find other bountiful amounts of fish. Who knows when that time will come but we will continue to see as much as we can see on all of our trips just as we always do.

Monday, June 24, 2019

BIRD ALERT June 24, 2019

A razorbill, sooty shearwater and murre were sighted this morning. In addition, we saw a puffin during our afternoon trip.

Murre flying past the boat
Sorry for the out-of-focus image but a puffin nonetheless!
Lots of wilson's storm petrels were also scattered around throughout the entire day. For all  you "B. Griffith's" out there please note all sightings occurred in the state of Maine 😃

Sunday, June 23, 2019

June 22-23, 2019

Saturday was all about fin whales. We saw a group of FOUR during our morning trip and a pair in the afternoon.
Morning fin whale
We were able to identify one of the whales we saw in the morning as Comet!
Associations form and fizzle on the feeding grounds perhaps as easily as these whales move through the water. What a treat to witness them synchronizing their massive movements together.
Fin whale swimming through the waves during our afternoon trip (above and below)

On Sunday morning's trip we saw two fin whales and two pods of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. The first whale of the day, identified as #0282, was charging around through the area with a small pod of dolphins sprinkled around!
Dolphin leaping out in front of a fin whale; look at that size difference!
Fin whale chevron pattern and a dolphin trying to photo-bomb the image 😄
We later spent time with another group of Atlantic white-sided dolphins and a second, more slowly moving, fin whale.
Atlantic white-sided dolphins crashing through the ocean
During our afternoon trip the winds subsided and the ocean was beautiful. And the whales all but disappeared! We had to do a lot of searching and while we ultimately spotted two minke whales we truly only watched one of them. Nature, always doing her best to keep us on our toes...
Minke whale

Friday, June 21, 2019

June 20-21

June 20-21
Yesterday’s trip started off foggy but cleared up a few miles offshore. We passed by a harbor seal close to the harbor and headed out to find 4 minke whales and a huge fin whale! Our hearty passengers weathered the rain like real troopers. 

Minke whale in the rain
Fin whale!
 Today, we had a couple brief sprinkles from the rain gods, and after a lot of searching, found a humpback whale, #0050 on the move. 
Humpback whale
Humpback whale #0050
 He traveled 2 miles in the 30 minutes we followed him! Ok, granted, 4 mph seems slow to us, but for a humpback whale, that’s a pretty good cruising speed! I wonder where he is heading??

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

June 17-19, 2019

On Monday morning the weather was pristine. At times there was not a breath of air. We saw three fin whales, six minke whales and a few seals.
Minke whale
The fin whales were that much more impressive to watch slipping through the water with barely a disturbance at the surface.
Fin whale in perfect ocean conditions
Fin whale diving
It was even lunchtime for a grey seal!
Grey seal roaming by with a mid-day snack (above and below)

On Monday afternoon, we saw three fin whales again but all three were different from our morning ones! A pair of fin whales were on the move and it did not take long to identify one of those whales as Comet!
Additionally, a humpback whale made an appearance followed by another fin whale on our travels home.
Humpback whale (above and below)
Fin whale
On Tuesday, the wind was minimal again. On our morning trip, even with having to skirt around some fog, we saw five fin whales and four minke whales. Our first sighting was only a few miles offshore and included a pair of fin whales. Ocean conditions were just beautiful for whale watching.
Fin whale off the coast of New Hampshire
Fin whale
During the afternoon, the fog held back and marine life popped up everywhere! We started with a RARE sighting of a white-beaked dolphin. What a way to start a trip.
White-beaked dolphin dorsal fin
Offshore we saw two fin whales, at least 10 minke whales, an elusive humpback whale, blue fin tuna, a large basking shark and a grey seal busy having an afternoon snack!
Minke whale
Fin whale
Basking shark with its mouth open!
Grey seal and its cod fish. The gulls were in hot pursuit!
Wednesday brought its own surprises. BIRD ALERT: We had our first shearwaters of the season. Two great shearwaters were spotted this morning. We were in varying degrees of fog all day sometimes thick-thick, sometimes disappearing all together. Of course fog doesn't stop us from searching from the moment we leave the dock until the moment we return! On our morning trip we saw six minke whales, a fin whale and a brief glimpse of a basking shark.
Minke whale

Fin whale
At one point our fin whale swam directly past the boat and our passengers got an incredible look at the sleekness and massive size of these creatures. This afternoon, we saw two minke whales and a fin whale.
Fin whale
The fin whale was doing some traveling but it was one of our minke whales that stole the show. Out of nowhere one breached right next to the boat! And thanks to our Blue Ocean Society summer interns, Erin and Hannah, we know this minke whale breached 10 more times!!
Breaching minke whale
The end, and aftermath, of a minke breach (above and below)!
But the action wasn't over yet. After all the repeated aerial activity, and charging through the water, this whale became extremely curious. Our minke whale swam circles around us, checking out every angle of us, whether right side up, on its side, or upside down! What an incredible experience.
One of the many laps this minke did around the boat. This whale is in the process of rolling upside down as it swims right under the boat! Please note, our engines were off the entire time this minke whale swam donuts around us.