Friday, July 24, 2020

July 23-24, 2020


Thursday morning the fog yet again covered the area like a thick wet blanket. I’m all about nature, but when the majority of my trips get fogged-out, I get a bit depressed to say the least.  As much as I hoped for the fog to burn off to leave us with a beautiful calm morning of whale watching, that just wasn’t in the cards today. However, it was not a total washout. We saw 4 minke whales close enough to get photos of 3 of them! 
Minke whale in the fog

Minke whale with 2 notches in its fin

Minke whale in calm seas

Also, a very friendly ocean sunfish (aka the ocean coconut!) came by the boat, and a huge grey seal was spotted! 
Ocean sunfish

Grey seal
The Wilson’s storm petrels were out in force and were working the surface for plankton to eat. I’m sure larger whales were out there, and likely close by, but that dreaded fog prevented us from finding them.

As we headed for Rye, we watched the cumulonimbus clouds building to the west. A strong line of thunderstorms was approaching, so we decided to cancel the afternoon trip.  Better luck tomorrow!


Friday morning we had miles of visibility! After yesterday morning’s trip with the fog machine, we were pretty excited to be able to see at least 5 miles away. We found an ocean sunfish to start the day followed by a young humpback whale relatively close to shore. 
Ocean sunfish


This was a humpback whale known as Clamp’s 2016 calf (it has yet to be named) who was seen recently and also was seen in the same area, close to shore, last summer!
Clamp's 2016 calf (humpback whale)

Continuing on, we tried to get looks at a couple of minke whales but they had other things in mind.  Eventually, after circling the area where the whales had been seen lately, our captain spotted a blow to our south. Humpback whales, Pinball (adoptable) and Spoon were still in the area. But today they were not hanging out side by side, but instead were about ¼ mile apart.  

Pinball!

Spoon!
Just as we were leaving, it appeared that Pinball was swimming toward Spoon, so perhaps the ladies got back together.  These two have been a pretty consistent pair for about 2 weeks now!

Friday afternoon, we chose to venture to a different part of Jeffreys Ledge where we hadn’t been in a while. After passing a harbor seal, we found a really big ocean sunfish, a shy blue shark and a minke whale.
Blue Shark

Ocean sunfish
Just beyond those animals, we saw a fin whale.
Two more fin whale were spotted just a bit further offshore, including one that we knew! This was fin whale # 0723, a whale first seen by Blue Ocean Society observers in 2007.  
Fin whale # 0723

While we watched the fin whales, we saw another whale in the distance.
This was a humpback whale who we have not seen yet this summer! Satula!!  Named for a saddle shaped mark on the lower left side of his fluke, Satula (finnish word for saddle, we believe), is another one of Blue Ocean Society’s adoptable whales! Welcome back, Satula!
Satula's distinctive lack of dorsal fin

Satula!
A second humpback was also nearby. This proved to be a female named Diablo! Diablo was spotted briefly last week but not since. Great to have her back in the neighborhood!
Humpback whale diving
On our cruise home, we passed by a few harbor seals and a grey seal. These critters are pretty shy and as soon as we see them, they disappear. But many of our guests spotted them in passing.



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