Sunday, October 10, 2021

October 10, 2021

Today marked the final public trip for the 2021 season and whales were ready to be watched! We saw a total of five humpback whales and a pod of 15 Atlantic white-sided dolphins.

Familiar flukes continued through the end of our season with Clamp, Nile, Valley, Spoon and Patches today. The dolphins even briefly became associated with the humpback whales to top off such a successful season.

We had such a successful season that we can state we saw whales on 100% of our whale watches! An impressive feat to accomplish and something we strive for, knowing it is a lofty goal. So thank you to the whales that remained plentiful throughout our entire season, providing moments and memories to all our passengers. Many thanks to our incredible captains taking us all to the right places and safely maneuvering around these wild creatures. To the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation staff and interns providing knowledge on each trip. To the crew, keeping safety and satisfaction their top priority. And, of course, to our passengers for joining us. Whether it be your first or 51st trip, we thank you for choosing us. Have a safe winter, and see you all in 2022!

Friday, October 8, 2021

October 6-8, 2021


We were greeted by a beautiful ocean on Wednesday; perfect temperatures and favorable sea conditions. Our trip started with a couple pods of harbor porpoises. We then came across a single humpback whale with an all-black fluke. Humpback fluke patterns range from all white (T1) to all black (T5). We had to wait until getting back to shore to identify this whale, and it was Repeat! Repeat was very busy feeding, taking short breaths at the surface before quickly disappearing from view again.

 Repeat, a new whale for us this season

After leaving Repeat, we were fortunate enough to find a group of four humpbacks. We spent a good amount of time with these whales, who spent most of their time napping. None of these whales were fluking for us, but thankfully they all have unique dorsal fins, which allowed us to identify them. The group members were Nile, Valley, Spoon, and Clamp. Spoon and Nile even treated us to some flipper slapping between snoozes. It’s always such a treat to see their massive flippers break the surface.

From left to right: Clamp, Spoon, Valley, and Nile

It didn’t seem as if these four wanted to stop napping, so we eventually left them and found a sixth humpback whale, also with an all-black fluke. We are still working on an ID for this whale as well.

On our way home we got a quick peek at a blue shark and common murre. What a perfect fall day on the water!

A common murre on Wednesday’s calm water

Quick looks at a blue shark. These fish are usually very shy around boats, so this was a nice treat! 


The chilly breeze did not stop us from finding whales on Friday! We found a total of four female humpback whales, starting off with Spoon and Valley. They were both napping between dives, which allowed us to get some really great looks. Spoon even treated the passengers to a single flipper slap. It’s always so amazing to see their massive flippers come above the surface!

Spoon and Valley napping at the surface

We then found Clamp, who was foraging alone. At one point she dove directly below our bow! After leaving her we came across Nile, who was doing some slow traveling. At this point, the wind started to pick up and we decided to head back to the harbor while conditions were still favorable. Not a bad day for our last weekday whale watch of 2021!

Clamp just before diving below the bow. The bumps on her head are called tubercles, and each one has a whisker-like hair in the center

Nile drifting away from the boat between dives

Monday, October 4, 2021

October 2-3, 2021

Saturday, Oct 2

It was a cool, cloudy day on the water on Saturday. But that didn’t stop the whales from doing what they do! We started our trip with a couple of pods of harbor porpoises before spotting some blows in the distance. We arrived in an area we’ve been having luck with whales lately, and our luck continued. As we made our way to a single humpback, three more breached at the same time in the distance! No photos of this rare behavior, but our passengers enjoyed it! The single whale we had spotted initially turned out to be Clamp, a female we have seen many times this season. 

Clamp, a female humpback whale

Another single humpback popped up also, and we were able to alternate viewing both of these whales. The second whale turned out to be Mogul, who has been seen over the past week. After some good looks at these two whales, we headed over to the trio we had seen breaching earlier. 

You can see some shallow wounds from a propeller in front of the dorsal fin, just before the blowhole. Luckily this wasn’t too severe of an injury. The trio was more relaxed now, diving for food and taking naps in between. We were able to identify them as Valley, Nile, and Gunslinger. At one point, as they were sleeping, they slowly drifted towards us before diving under our boat. What amazing looks we were able to get of these beautiful animals! 

Valley (left), Gunslinger (center), and Nile (right), with the Isles of Shoals in the background

-Naturalist Nicole 

Sunday, Oct 3

It was a gray day, but it made it even easier to spot blows in the distance. We headed out to an area where we’ve had luck this fall, and the whales did not disappoint! First, we encountered Nile and Valley. These large (possibly pregnant?) females were moving slowly at the surface. At one point, Nile did a big stretch. It looked like she didn’t even have a backbone for a minute! We spent time with these two, watching them swim slowly, and barely fluking as they dove. 
Nile diving

We saw some other blows in the area and went to check them out. We found male humpback Mogul feeding around the tuna fleet. He had a close encounter with a couple buoys at one point, which made us nervous, but he swam around them. 
Mogul near fishing gear

Another female, Clamp, also popped up nearby, and soon adoptable whale Satula moved into the area! We haven't seen Satula in a while so this was an added surprise!


These three whales were far apart from each other, but all feeding in the same general area. We were lucky enough to get close looks at all 3 of them. After lots of quality time with the whales, it was time to head home. But as we turned for home, we got last looks at Nile and Valley, who gave us spectacular looks at their flukes as we passed by. Thanks to everyone who joined us today! 

-Naturalist Jen

Friday, October 1, 2021

Sept 29, Oct 1, 2021


Wednesday, Sept 29, 2021

The wind and waves certainly made for an adventurous day on the ocean!  But in just over an hour from leaving the harbor, we found whales! Three humpback whales were spotted although only one consistently came up near the boat. This one was named Shuffleboard! We got great looks as she was staying in the same area for multiple dives.


Two other humpbacks were around but no matter how hard we tried we could not get close looks at either of them to determine who they were. Such is wildlife!

Friday, October 1, 2021

Heading back to the same area we found whales on Wednesday, we were happy to find a trio of humpback whales named Nile, Valley and Gunslinger. These three were slowly traveling and sometimes even high-fluking! Beautiful sight.

Three humpbacks!

Two humpbacks diving

A fourth humpback was in the area. This turned out to be Mogul! He was blowing clouds of bubbles to concentrate his prey, and even showed us the remnants of his digested fish! Whale poop!

Mogul diving

Our trek home took us between the scenic Isles of Shoals.

Happy October!


Sunday, September 26, 2021

September 25-26, 2021

Happy Fall all! The weather kept us on solid land most of this week so, it certainly felt great to get back on the water on Saturday. While a leftover swell was waiting for us, minimal wind and a crisp horizon added to the energy of goodness in the open salt air. A total of nine humpback whales and a small pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins were seen. The humpback whales continued to be associated with each other in pairs and trios.

Many of the same culprits continue to be in our area, which we are very grateful for. Individuals included Shuffleboard, Pixar, Partition, Fan and her calf, Sword, Frost, Clamp, and Mogul.

On Sunday, humpback whale sightings continued. Behaviors included some whales napping, others creating bubble clouds, and even pooping (yep, they must rid themselves of digested food just like humans!). We started with Shuffleboard, Jabiru, and Quill while Mogul moved into the area. The day wrapped up with Partition and Pixar.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Septemeber 18-19, 2021

On Saturday, we were so fortunate in our sightings. So many whales, numerous behaviors, and the fog remained at bay while offshore! In total, 11 humpback whales were seen, along with a brief glimpse of an ocean sunfish and a small pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins.

Humpback whale 'stretching'


The whales were in clusters, ranging in numbers, some resting, some being active. Individuals included Shuffleboard, Decimal, Mogul, Chromosome, Spoon, Draco, Clamp, Brine, Jabiru, Patches, and Frost.


Pair of whales (above and below)

We had to contend with wind and waves as we made our way offshore on Sunday's trip. The wind forecast was scheduled to drop as the day wore on. Always helpful when the forecast is correct! The whales never seem to mind as they move through an active ocean. As the wind continued to drop, we ended up seeing six humpback whales, all in pairs.

Tail breach!
Shuffleboard, Clamp, Frost, Ebony, Spoon, and Chromosome were moseying around. We were even treated to a pod of 40 Atlantic white-sided dolphins en route back to the harbor.
Atlantic white-sided dolphins! (above and below)

Sunday, September 12, 2021

September 11-12, 2021

Saturday was a beautiful afternoon for watching whales (and dolphins and ocean sunfish). The morning breeze faded, leaving us with an ocean swell but otherwise calm seas.

Heading offshore, we found a pair of ocean sunfish, also known by their Latin name, Mola mola, which translates into millstone- a large round grey rough object used to grind grains.

Next, we saw a fishing boat heading in from its charter and noticed they stopped abruptly. We called them to ask why they stopped, and we learned the boat found a pod of dolphins! We headed that way and relocated the large pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins! These animals were fantastic, swimming closely alongside our boat, allowing us to check out their cool stripes. We also found another ocean sunfish amid the dolphins!

Ocean sunfish

Heading east, we came upon an area where five humpback whales were hanging out. Owl was by herself today and doing a bit of napping at the surface between dives.

Two pairs of humpbacks were in the distance. The first was Nile and Scylla, a pair that has been together for the better part of two months (maybe more).

Then in the distance, we saw the other pair start to become active by tail breaching and slapping.  We normally don’t rush over the active whales when we are watching other whales since we know that the whales will stop their activities by the time we get there, but we were temped. 

We idled their way and soon determined we were looking at Ebony, who was doing most of the tail-slapping, and Brine.  As we watched the activity, we noticed that Nile began to tail-slap as well! Likely a form of communication, tail-slapping, and tail-breaching are known behaviors for humpback whales, but not for most other species of large whales.

Tail breach from Ebony

The white water from Ebony's tail breach while Nile is tail-slapping in the distance

Sunday, the ocean looked a little different as the SW wind blew steadily, creating some choppy seas.  The starboard side of the boat got pretty wet as we headed out to where we found whales yesterday.  Fortunately, we found a pair of humpback whales not that far away. Nile and Scylla are still hanging out together! These two were slowly heading toward Cape Ann and staying underwater for around 8-9 minutes. 

Humpback whales diving in perfect synchrony

Humpback whale, Nile

At one point, we looked over at our fish finder to see two huge "fish" below us! Nile and Scylla were directly below the boat! 

We said goodbye to the pair and started to make our way back to Rye but decided to take the long way home. Our intern, Tiffany, spotted an ocean sunfish that turned out to be exceptionally cooperative giving both sides of the boat incredible looks! Ocean sunfish are odd-looking creatures, and we love to show our guests onboard another form of marine life!