Wednesday, September 25, 2019

September 25, 2019

Today’s whale watch was amazing. We started out with a large pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins. This group included lots of mom/calf pairs and small groups coming in right alongside our boat! Amazing looks at this Gulf of Maine dolphin species.

Then we found a big fin whale that was taking dives ranging from 6-12 minutes. We eventually got a nice look at this endangered whale and could clearly see its unique chevron and blaze markings along with some scars indicative of a prior entanglement in fishing gear.

An ocean sunfish surfaced nearby and showed us just how weird this fish appears!

An eagle-eyed passenger told us of a whale tail he saw through his binoculars. We headed to that area and slowed down. Another fin whale surfaced, and soon after, we saw a tail of a different whale go down.  We expected to find a humpback whale, as they are common in the area and are known to lift their flukes out of the water when diving. After 13 minutes, the whale resurfaced and we quickly realized that this was not a humpback whale. Instead, we were looking at a critically endangered north Atlantic right whale, one of only about 400 whales of this species left.  We waited another 13 minutes before seeing it come back up to breathe. 

Knowing that this species may be effectively extinct in as few as 20 years is extremely humbling. Man-made threats such as entanglements in fishing gear and ship strikes are the most common causes of death for this animal. We all were extremely lucky to see this whale in person.

(All images taken within accordance of whale watching guidelines and regulations)

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