Sunday, August 30, 2020

August 29-30, 2020

The wild wind is keeping us land-based this weekend but we are eager to get back on the water this week. We are beginning our fall schedule so check out trip times here: Granite State Whale Watch Schedule

Saturday, August 29, 2020

August 27-28, 2020

An influx of new humpback whales has arrived! As usual, right around Labor Day, we tend to see new humpback whales in our area, along with some of the ones we had been seeing regularly. This trend seems to be somewhat new (last 5 years or so) but we’ll have to do more data exploring to know for sure.

Thursday morning, a pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins greeted us as we approached Jeffreys Ledge.  This was a very compact pod of around 100 dolphins, all coming up together or so it seemed.

Atlantic white sided dolphins

Atlantic white sided dolphins- mom and calf
Next we found two humpback whales, Spoon and Nile who were a little sleepy to begin with but then gave us a taste of what humpbacks can do: Spoon began to slap her flippers on the water while Nile decided to tail-breach and then lob tail- slapping her flukes on the water repeatedly!
Humpback whale's 15-ft flipper

Humpback whale tail-breaching

Humpback whale, Nile, lob-tailing

A bit further out, we found another pair of humpback whales, Valley and her calf. 
Humpback whale mom and calf

Humpback whale, Valley, diving near tuna boats
A minke whale was also seen cruising through the area on this overcast morning.

Thursday afternoon, Valley and calf were still in the area so we hung out with them for a bit.
Humpback whales diving (this shows one of the reasons they get the name "humpback" whales!

Humpback whale, Valley
Then we moved on to a trio of humpback whales, Spoon, Nile and another whale yet to be identified!  This trio was snoozing (logging is the technical term).
Humpback whale diving

Humpback whale diving with a little flare
 We went out searching for another whale that we had seen from a mile away but never found it so we came back to the trio of humpbacks. But now the group had changed up! Valley and her calf joined up with Spoon and Nile, and the unknown whale was nowhere to be seen! 
Multiple whales below the boat!
Then as things progressed, Spoon was with yet another humpback whale who is still unknown to us. Such a day of the old switcheroo!
LPG tanker (transiting from Portsmouth, NH to Delaware) while a humpback whale dives nearby

Friday morning we found a whale taking long dives and not fluking very high. We had no idea who this new visitor was but later in the day identified it as Osprey, a humpback whale that hasn't been seen in our area since 2012.

In the same area, we found another whale, the famous OWL! Owl had been seen most recently by Bar Harbor Whale Watch in Canadian territory less than a month ago! So glad to see that she has moved into our neighborhood!! We love Owl!  Osprey and Owl associated briefly but then went on
their separate ways.
Owl saying goodbye to Osprey
A couple of minke whales were also seen cruising through the area before we came upon a trio of humpbacks, Valley, her calf, and Nile!  These three were napping yet moving ever so slowly. Such a great peaceful viewing of 3 wild animals right alongside our boat with not a care in the world!
Trio of sleepy humbacks
We also had to chance to see a giant bluefin tuna that was caught by one of the boats in a fleet of about a dozen. That's one big fish!

On our way home we passed by a pod of about 12 harbor porpoises!!

Friday afternoon, Spoon the humpback whale was seen again! She was much more active than she has been over the past few days. She was blowing bubble clouds to corral her fish and charging through the area!

The long-diving humpback seen in the morning was seen again and this time we got some identifying looks at its flukes- this was Osprey, a humpback whale who has only been seen once in this area prior (2012)! The whale’s tail had darkened a bit over the past 8 years but was still distinctive enough for us to figure out who it was (after a bit of effort)!!
Humpback whale Osprey in 2020
Owl was seen again! She was taking short dives and sticking to a small area, making for easy viewing.
Owl's huge but healing scar

Owl diving


Just a bit away we saw splashing- Valley and her calf were still around but now they were tail lobbing and tail breaching!! Of course when we approached, they stopped all the fun activity, but we were excited to see that Nile had once again decided to join the pair!

The past 2 days were really a treat for whale watchers. So much activity was seen and the weather was pretty nice!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

August 24-26, 2020

There wasn't much of any wind Monday morning making for calms seas, and at times, no reprieve from the sticky summer temperatures. As we headed offshore our first stop was on a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. It has been such a bonus seeing numerous pods of dolphins recently.

Atlantic white-sided dolphin

We also checked out an ocean sunfish before spending time with two different pairs of humpback whales. All of these whales were mainly resting and included Spoon and Chablis in one group and Pitcher and Crisscross in the other.

Resting humpback whales
Morning humpback whale

Spoon's flipper

Monday afternoon the breeze arrived to cool us down. An ocean sunfish was nearby as we traveled offshore.

Ocean sunfish

From there a large disturbance in the distance led us to the humpback whale, Joy. Later, as we attempted to leave the area to go exploring, we were brought back in as two more humpback whales were merging in towards Joy. Ravine and Jabiru graced us with their presence and soon became associated with each other.

Ravine and Jabiru

Tuesday consisted of similar weather conditions to Monday, a bit toasty with no wind in the morning followed by a bit of an afternoon cool-down. Tuesday morning we began whale watching with a pod of ~75 Atlantic white-sided dolphins.

Atlantic white-sided dolphins

These whales were on the move and we watched them move through the water with such ease. We then saw a total of five humpback whales and even a blue shark.

Blue shark

Nile, Spoon, Valley and her 2020 calf and Jabiru were sighted throughout the trip. Great sights and great seas.

Humpback whale

Valley's calf

Tuesday afternoon we sighted five humpback whales coming across Ravine, Jabiru, Spoon, Nile and Dashdot. A few of these whales started feeding allowing for some incredible looks at multiple bubble clouds and plenty of lunges.

Lots of surface commotion
Time to eat!
Feeding humpback whales
Whales going in different directions

We even spotted a pod of ~15 Atlantic white-sided dolphins on our way in.

A few small calves were in our pod of dolphins
The strong wind is keeping us on land today. Be back out there tomorrow to see what is waiting for us!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

August 22-23, 2020

As summer presses on we are so thankful to continue experiencing wildlife at its finest, in their world. Whales were plentiful on Saturday with a handful of newcomers to the area. What a pleasant surprise regardless of if they were just passing through or choose to spend a bit of time in the area. On the morning trip we saw eight humpback whales.

Morning wildlife

We started with a trio consisting of Quote, Clipper and Chablis. From there Cantilever and Piano made themselves known. Another trio: Nile, Tectonic and Dashdot were not far away.

Yikes! So thankful this whale named Piano (any guesses why?) survived such an incident now bearing the marks from a vessel/propeller strike
Whales in such calm seas

We also checked out one of three ocean sunfish in the area. A pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins were even sighted on our way back to the harbor.

Ocean sunfish
A dolphin in the rain has its own sense of beauty
Atlantic white-sided dolphin

On the afternoon trip some of the same whales were in the area but associations had shifted. We spent time with two different trios. The first group was Spoon, Chablis and Piano.

Diving whale
Chablis' flipper high in the air

Our second trio included Nile, Dashdot and Tectonic. There was also a minke whale circling around the area as these humpback whales moseyed through.

Nile and Tectonic

Sunday continued to provide beautiful sights on the open ocean. While on the morning trip we found ourselves engulfed in fog as we made our way offshore. Today was a great reminder that while fog can provide an extra challenge, that doesn't mean there isn't anything to be found! On our journey through the thick fog we checked out a large ocean sunfish and a pod of about five Atlantic white-sided dolphins.

Ocean sunfish
Dolphins in the fog

Offshore after slowly maneuvering through the area we got eyes on a pair of whales. It was Chablis and Spoon resting.

Spoon doesn't even look like a whale when this massive whale is resting!

While watching these lazy whales something triggered their liveliness to kick into high gear and in a matter of moments both of them jumped clear out of the water. Then they started flipper slapping before resting once again. Just as the fog can change in intensity, whales can start and stop all sorts of different behaviors at any moment!

Whale breach!
Flipper slapping

We also got some amazing looks at a trio of humpback whales as they swam under our boat (our engines were shut off so no worries!) including Nile, Piano and Dashdot before Whirlwind came into the mix.

The ocean was so calm you could see so much of the whale even below the waterline

Before heading for home we had a brief look at a leatherback turtle and another trio of humpback whales: Valley, her calf and Ravine. By our afternoon trip the fog had dissipated and we found ourselves watching Spoon still associated with Chablis.

Half a fluke

These two humpback whales were spending a bit of time below the waterline so we switched gears and found Valley, her calf and Ravine all still swimming around together.

Valley and her calf

These whales were not going far in any particular direction allowing for great looks at this mother/calf pair and adult female.

Whale tail