Thursday, August 26, 2021

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The ocean was like a lake today! Glassy calm water made for optimal viewing of marine life.

 Our morning trip began with quite the dilemma. Do we check out a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins first or the flipper-slapping humpback whales? Not a bad problem to have! We chose the dolphins as they can be more easily lost if they are traveling through the area. Absolutely incredible views of these curious, little toothed-whales! They came right alongside the boat and even leaped out of the water several times! We saw lots of calves in the group, too.  A couple of the males were acting a little frisky, swimming on their sides and slapping their flukes.

We could see the humpback whales in the distance, still flipper-slapping, so we headed that way. Patches and Shuffleboard were hanging out together, quietly at first, and then resumed their display. Humpback whales are known for slapping their flippers on the water, assumingly as some form of communication, but more than once, Patches slapped himself! Ouch! That flipper weighs around 2000 pounds and has scratchy barnacles along the edge!  “Things that make you go hmmm.”

Two humpbacks flipper-slapping

Patches slapping himself

Continuing on, we found two more humpback whales named Quill and Clamp. They were each doing their own things and acting a bit more typical- just breathing and diving!  

A small blue shark appeared briefly, but just as quickly, disappeared.

 The afternoon started off by passing by harbor porpoises, a harbor seal, and a blue shark. I wish these sharks were a little more friendly, as they are super cool looking, but it’s probably best for their own well-being to steer clear of humans.

Our adoptable humpback whale, Satula, was seen first and showed evidence of feeding by the clouds of bubbles he was blowing to concentrate his prey.  The new injury (from last month) appears to be healing and not slowing him down.


We then found Jabiru and her calf. This poor calf has been severely entangled in fishing gear at least twice this season, the first of which left a sizeable linear laceration around its body.  The calf appears to be doing ok, and we hope it continues to avoid the plethora of fishing gear that dominates the Western Gulf of Maine. While watching the pair, our captain witnessed an ocean sunfish jump close by! 


As we turned to head back to Rye, we took the long way home, searching for a reported pod of dolphins. Something in the far distance caught Captain Jonathan’s attention. By far distance, I mean FAR distance. He spotted the pod of dolphins from nearly 5 km away. I don’t know how he does it, but he does! I estimated around 200 Atlantic white-sided dolphins in this pod, and they were on the move. Surfacing close to the boat and leaping out of the water, they put on quite the show- way better than Sea World, in my opinion! As we picked up speed, the dolphins surfed in our wake! 


Fabulous day! We even saw a small group of harbor porpoises on the way home!

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