Sunday, July 31, 2022

July 30-31, 2022

Saturday morning had such a variety of marine life. Sightings started early in the day with Satula the humpback whale.

Conditions were so beautiful, you could see the spout from such a distance!
Satula diving

From there, it was an ocean sunfish, a few harbor seals, and two pods of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. Beautiful looks at all the wildlife.

Ocean sunfish
Atlantic white-sided dolphins (above and below)

The afternoon trip started with a large pod of toothed whales, more Atlantic white-sided dolphins!

Dolphin cruising through the water

We have been so fortunate lately to see these toothed whales. They are always crowd pleasers! We then spent time with four humpback whales.

First, Dross was circling. Then a trio of three, Spoon, her calf, and Jabiru, spent most of the afternoon napping near the surface.

Spoon's enormous flipper

On Sunday morning, we were treated to THREE different pods of Atlantic white-sided dolphins! To see one pod is special, but three? Wow.
Atlantic white-sided dolphin
More dolphins.
And even more dolphins!
In addition, we checked out an ocean sunfish and came across a fin whale; what an incredible look at one of the second largest whales on Earth.
Ocean sunfish
Fin whale surfacing
Fin whale
We even passed close to Boon Island seeing the lighthouse and plenty of seals nearby.
Grey seal near Boon Island
In the afternoon, we spent time with four humpback whales. Jabiru was associated with Spoon and her calf. And we had a newcomer to the area for the season - Patches!
Trio of humpback whales

On our travels back to Rye Harbor, the day wrapped up with a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. What a day and what a weekend.
One last group of dolphins for the day

Saturday, July 30, 2022

July 28-29, 2022

 Thursday, July 28, 2022

The morning trip was cool and calm. Before reaching Jeffreys Ledge, we got some quick looks at a blue shark and a minke whale. We found a young humpback whale first. This whale only showed us a little of its fluke, so we could not identify it (it may even be too young to be in our catalog!). We noticed some splashing in the distance while our humpback was below the surface, so we headed in that direction and found a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins! There were a few calves in this pod! These dolphins were active, darting around the boat and even leaping out of the water.

After leaving the dolphin pod, we tried to find our first humpback again but were unsuccessful. We then traveled a bit longer and came across what we thought was a single humpback, but to our surprise, it turned out to be three! We identified these three whales as Ravine, Spoon, and Spoon’s 2022 calf! We witnessed the calf nursing under Spoon while Ravine took a few naps! There was also a fourth humpback in the distance, and she eventually joined the group of three. This was another familiar whale to us: a female named Jabiru. Jabiru had a calf just last year. These four whales were slowly swimming along, and then Ravine started flipper slapping. This behavior continued even as we left the area. 

We also spotted a harbor seal just outside the harbor on our way back in. What a great way to finish our trip! 

The afternoon trip was canceled due to impending rough seas and stormy conditions. We'll try again tomorrow!

Friday, July 29, 2022

This morning’s trip was amazing! We saw Atlantic white-sided dolphins, a fin whale, humpback whales, distant minke whales and harbor porpoises, plus an ocean sunfish. All in all, the species tally was pretty typical, but the fantastic parts were the behaviors we witnessed.  

 A couple dozen dolphins were hanging out with the fin whale, showing up just before the huge fin whale broke the surface! Our data shows that only about 1% of fin whale sightings have dolphins associated with them! Super cool!


We saw a large pod of dolphins nearby and spent some time with them.


An ocean sunfish was in our path to the ledge so we stopped to take a quick look.

As we approached the Ledge, we saw some blows in the distance- a trio of humpback whales! These three were taking a nap and we shut down the boat to minimize the noise disturbance on these sleepy whales.

Before leaving for home, we saw another humpback in the area. This was Dross!


 On Friday afternoon the wind picked up a little, but that didn’t stop the whales! We got quick looks at a minke whale before finding a humpback whale named Dross. Dross was busy feeding on the plentiful bait around us. She made several bubble clouds close to the boat and gave passengers some wonderful looks.

After leaving Dross we came across a trio of humpbacks. This turned out to be Spoon and her 2022 calf traveling with Jabiru. A few times Jabiru and Spoon’s calf were at the surface together while Spoon was still below. All three whales spent a good amount of time at the surface, slowly moving along and taking quick cat naps. It was great to spend time with all four of these humpbacks!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

July 27, 2022


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

This morning, just as we were leaving the harbor, we saw several plastic bags in the water. Whenever we can, we take the time to remove debris (mostly balloons and bags) from the ocean so that it can’t harm wildlife. After the first 2 bags, we saw a third. To our surprise, this bag wasn’t empty but instead was full of extra-dead mackerel. As smelly as it was, we couldn’t leave the plastic in the ocean, hauled it onboard quickly, and secured it for later disposal. The things we do for whales… 

Moving on, we were surprised to find the humpback whale, Satula, relatively close to shore, just past the Isles of Shoals! Although it was great to see him so soon on the trip, the closeness to shore also means that he has the potential to encounter more fishing gear which is a known threat to whales. At one point, he dove, barely missing a buoy marking fishing gear. Satula managed to avoid the gear, thankfully.

Satula close to shore

Satula diving near fishing gear

Satula diving close to fishing buoy

Soon after, we found an active pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins! This group was busy, likely feeding on a school of fish. They would all surface together and dive together, spending a minute or two underwater. A harbor seal was in the area, too!

Our trip home passed by some harbor porpoises and our route took us through the Isles of Shoals, where we saw several grey seals, and many seabirds, including eider ducks, cormorants and black guillemots. 

Common eiders

Black Guillamots

The afternoon trip also found the humpback whale, Satula! We spent some time with him before heading further out. 

We found two different fin whales, both of which were awesome finds. The first was FWC# 0324- a whale identified by Allied Whale off Bar Harbor, Maine! We often don’t see this individual, making for a special sighting!

The second fin whale was not the easiest to get looks at but eventually, we did and identified it as BOS# 0813- a uniquely double-notched whale that we first saw in the area 14 years ago!

An ocean sunfish cooperated nicely for our viewing pleasure, giving us all a great look at this interesting fish!


The variety of the day was magnificent!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

July 25-26, 2022

The weather on Monday was not on our side and so we remained on land eager for the beautiful conditions in the forecast on Tuesday. Conditions did not disappoint. It was a beautiful day in our section of the Gulf of Maine on both of our trips today, with lots of life to look at. This morning, we had our first "grand slam" of the season - all four of our most commonly sighted whale species all in one trip. We saw at least five minke whales, Satula the humpback whale, three fin whales (including a pair), and a pod of at least 100 Atlantic white-sided dolphins!

Minke whale
Pair of fin whales
Atlantic white-sided dolphins (above and below)

Oh, and don't forget the half dozen ocean sunfish and even a blue shark sighting. Wow.

Ocean sunfish
If you look closely, you can see a blue shark subsurface!
Great shearwater over the glassy ocean

The afternoon provided its own gorgeous looks at marine life, continuing to be surrounded by calm seas. We came across, likely, the same pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins (thanks Captain Jonathan!), an ocean sunfish, a fin whale, and two humpback whales - Pinball and Mostaza.

Ocean sunfish
Afternoon fin whale
Atlantic white-sided dolphin in flat calm conditions

Humpback whale