Sunday, September 27, 2020

September 26-27, 2020

On Saturday we were surrounded by fog on our journey offshore. Eventually we broke through to some better visibility as searching continued. Our attempts of checking out a minke whale failed as it was rarely surfacing. With more, and even a bit more, searching there was a blow. One of the second largest animals on earth was nearby. Turned out two fin whales were in the area but we stuck with one as we watched this massive mammal move through the water.

Fin whale
Fin whale dorsal fin
Diving fin whale

Sunday started off much brighter on land. But whales aren't on land and what's important are the conditions occurring offshore. Just before departing Rye Harbor a fog bank rolled in. In our optimistic ways we thought, no worries, this fog is likely just passing through. Nope. Not even close. We found ourselves surrounded by fog for a long time, even worse than Saturday! We briefly saw a minke whale only a few miles offshore and even got some great looks at an ocean sunfish.

Ocean sunfish

As we pressed on we searched areas where whales have recently been spending time. Sighting conditions were working against us but we were far from giving up hope. After a few other stops to search, the weather finally turned in our favor and visibility improved drastically. We redirected our search pattern and soon saw a spout, two spouts! A pair of fin whales were working the area.

Huge fin whale
Two fin whale spouts
Check out that beautiful chevron pattern!

Shearwaters and Northern Fulmars (birds) were soaring close by as we checked out these baleen whales. The day ended with one more sighting of toothed-whales to be exact! A pod of ~30 Common dolphins, including a few calves, were zipping around. More shearwaters and fulmars were circling overhead as this pod veered back and forth around the boat.

Common dolphins (above and below)!

Friday, September 25, 2020

Sept 24-25. 2020

Thursday, Sept 24, 2020

After only having one trip in the past 2 weeks, we were excited to get back on the water in search of whales. The storms that had passed by seemed to have stirred up the ocean quite a bit as the marine life was a little challenging to find in our normal haunts.  We spotted a minke whale that wasn’t all that cooperative. But then we came upon a group of Atlantic white sided dolphins!! These animals were flanking the boat and just milling around, allowing us for some great views! 

A second minke was seen, but this one was also elusive. 

As we continued on, we found a very friendly young minke whale that swam under the boat several times and surface very close by! These encounters are extremely rare, especially for minke whales!  

Minke whale moving from right to left

Minke whale blow

A grey seal was also in the area, rounding out our trip.

 Friday, Sept 25, 2020

This trip was an exercise in patience! We headed to a different area from yesterday's trip in search of other activities, only to find a whole lot of nothing. We circled around the Ledge, only to end up back where we saw whales yesterday. Oh we know where the whales are not!  As we came into an area with hundreds of shearwaters and fulmars (sea birds), we slowed down in hopes that some more activity was under the surface. We were right! A pair of fin whales and a minke whale soon appeared! Although we had been searching for whales for over 3.5 hours at this point, we were ecstatic to finally find what we had been looking for!  After several looks at the two giants, we waited for over 20 minutes before seeing them again as we were leaving the area. These whales really know how to hold their breath!

Fin whale blow

Fin whale back

Fin whale jagged dorsal fin 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

September 20, 2020

Unfortunately, the weather has been absolutely dreadful all week. No whale watching trips ran between September 14-20. Here hoping this coming week gives us some conducive conditions. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

September 12-13, 2020

On Saturday morning we did a lot of searching. I mean a lot! Patience was key and we eventually got a chance to see two humpback whales, one of which was creating numerous bubble clouds. Owl was one of our whales and the other, a new visitor for the season. This familiar pattern belongs to Fan!

Owl the humpback whale
Hello Fan!

During our afternoon trip we checked out Owl, still creating a few bubble clouds. We also checked out a pair of fin whales moving through the area.

Humpback whale surfacing
Afternoon sighting of Owl
Fin whale

Sunday was swell both in the ocean movements and the sightings! The trip started with an ocean sunfish, one of two sighted during the day.

Ocean sunfish

As we made our way offshore our Captain spotted something super special. It was a Kemp's Ridley sea turtle!!!! This is the first Kemp's Ridley I have ever seen.

Kemp's Ridley turtle!!!

Not only was it a sea turtle, a rarity to start, but a life species for me. Oh my goodness!!! After spending a little time with this little friend we were back searching for more marine life.

Just keeping swimming, just keep swimming 😊

We ended up then seeing two different fin whales one of which is identified as Blue Ocean Society's #1015, a fin whale first sighted by Blue Ocean researchers in 2010!

Stealth-like fin whale

Sightings weren't over for then watched three humpback whales. First was Dross. This humpback whale was sighted on our first trip of the 2020 season, on June 20th, and not since! We also saw Fan and a familiar friend, Patches, a boat favorite for sure. What a weekend!

Diving humpback whale
Patches tail breaching
Large humpback whale flipper

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

September 9, 2020

Today's whale watch started out foggy but then cleared just in time for us to find whales! Several fin whales were circling around and one even lunged at the surface!

A new humpback whale was also sighted. We are still searching our files to determine who this whale is!

And we can't forget the shy blue shark! Great day!

Monday, September 7, 2020

September 5-7, 2020

Happy Labor Day weekend! How are we already into September? We had two trips on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday morning we first checked out a fin whale spending only a few minutes below the surface at a time. A fin whale, such a big mammal.

Fin whale (above and below)

Our next marine sighting was a leatherback sea turtle. What a season it has been for sighting the largest of the sea turtles.

Hello leatherback!

Congratulations to Nicole, one of our Blue Ocean Society interns, who finally saw her first sea turtle! The morning trip wrapped up with humpback whales Owl and Nile.

Morning humpback whales

On Saturday afternoon we started the trip with a leatherback sea turtle. One day and two sea turtles! How cool is that? What a way to start!

Afternoon sea turtle sighting!

We then saw four humpback whales. Nile was associated with Chromosome, Owl was still circling around and a yet-to-be identified whale was out in the distance.

Chromosome and Nile

Sunday morning was just what we enjoy. There was a crisp horizon and calm seas. Only minutes after leaving the harbor we had an ocean sunfish. This fish was unfazed by our presence, as they tend to be, so we got great looks before heading offshore.

Incoming ocean sunfish

Out towards the ledge humpback whales Owl, Nile and Chromosome were still around and now all together! At one point we even had a fin whale surface nearby.

Diving whales
Fin whale swimming by

On our afternoon trip these three humpback whales were sighted again but this time Nile and Chromosome were together and Owl was off on her own.

Whale spout

How quickly these associations can fizzle. But alas, before leaving the area all three were back together again!

All three humpback whales together again!
Labor Day Monday was breezy and as the day wore on it just got more breezy. Before the ocean really got exciting we came across as spout, ultimately two! Pinball the humpback whale was back. What a fantastic surprise. We last saw this whale over a month ago. Wow. Such a fun find.
Such a pleasant surprise of a pigmentation pattern. Hello again Pinball!
We also briefly saw Osprey the humpback whale surface in the area. Our next trip is on Wednesday as we settle into our fall schedule. Stay tuned as we transition into our fall whale watching routine.
Pinball just below the waves
Humpback whale swimming by