Tuesday, August 30, 2022

August 29-30, 2022

The Gulf of Maine continues to keep us on the edge of eagerness with all the marine life the ocean has to offer. On Monday, our first sighting of the trip was a loggerhead SEA TURTLE!!!!

Loggerhead sea turtle!!!!!

Oh my goodness, what an unexpected special treat. Sea turtle sightings are few and far between - we can go entire seasons without seeing a single one! What an incredible way to start the day. Once we found ourselves offshore, we had multiple species of whales in a small area. A couple minke whales, two fin whales and Dross the humpback whale were all busy darting around.

Minke whale
Fin whale

Dross the humpback whale (above and below)

Tuesday's whale watch had some added movement as the wind and waves were holding their own. We were once again fortunate to spend time with Dross the humpback whale. This whale was spending the majority of the time at the surface, just moseying around the area, allowing for some great looks. A minke whale made a very brief appearance and even a Kemp's Ridley's sea turtle was sighted but alas did not resurface, even after circling back, in hopes of relocating it.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

August 27-28, 2022

Saturday morning we had a little wind, a little fog, and eventually a little sun. The marine life, of course, was unfazed by the conditions we were experiencing above the ocean surface. In the morning we saw a minke whale, fin whale, and a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins.

Minke whale
Fin whale
Atlantic white-sided dolphin

We even came across an Atlantic Puffin (while waiting for a whale to resurface).

Well hello there puffin!

Saturday afternoon, we once again started with a minke whale before coming across a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. Recent sightings of these toothed-whales have consisted of a few calves, and this pod continued with that trend.

Young dolphin!

After attempting to check out a fin whale (that did not resurface after 16 minutes...) we continued our patience with some more searching. Just at the end of our offshore efforts a spout was sighted in the distance. Make that two! A pair of humpback whales were swimming along consisting of Nine and Ase!

Humpback whale diving
Sunday had a few surprises awaiting for us offshore. In the morning, the ocean was so calm we were fortunate to see numerous sharks!! At least five different blue sharks and even a likely thresher shark (brief, but still!).
Blue sharks (above and below)

Another blue shark!
We also saw two fin whales and Dross the humpback whale. Dross was busy doing some feeding with plenty of bubble nets.
Fin whale
Fin whale
Dross filtering
A bubble net!

On our afternoon trip, we first watched an ocean sunfish before finding Dross still creating bubble clouds.
Ocean sunfish
Whale spout
Dross diving
To our fun surprise, two more humpback whales were moseying around the area. Mother-calf pair Nile and her 2022 calf were seen!
Nile and her calf at the surface

Saturday, August 27, 2022

August 25-26, 2022

The water was glass calm on Thursday morning. Our first encounter was with a large ocean sunfish. This fish seemed to be as interested in us as we were with it, as it lifted its eye out of the water a few times to get a good look!

Next, we found a large pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins! This was a very active pod, zooming all around the boat. We even got to see a few calves! 

After leaving the dolphins, we spent some time with a minke whale. These are the smallest type of baleen whale that we see on our trips. 

Our next sighting was a beautiful fin whale, the largest type of baleen whale we see. This animal was being very cooperative and didn’t surface too far from us between dives. 

While we were waiting for it to resurface, a few phalaropes were spotted. These birds are so tiny, that it’s easy to lose them as soon as you spot them, but some of our passengers were able to see them as they fluttered above the surface.

We tried a few times to head back to the harbor but kept getting interrupted by marine life! First it was a minke whale, then a second ocean sunfish. A few seagulls came in for a closer look at this fish as well. Finally, we got some quick looks at a blue shark before we were able to head home for real!

Our first encounter in the afternoon was quite unusual. We saw a fin pop out of the water, but then realized there were multiple animals. We had an ocean sunfish, and a blue shark! But this blue shark was being a little strange. It was circling an orange bucket and rubbing on it. Even stranger, the sunfish breached twice! What unexpected behavior from both of these fish!

After our crazy fish encounter, we saw a couple of minke whales before finding a fin whale. This animal may have been the same individual from the morning trip. The lighting conditions were just right, and we were able to see this whale’s white lower jaw. The trip wrapped up with a pod of dolphins. So much variety on our trips lately!

Friday morning started off pretty foggy with very little visibility. We saw a cool ocean sunfish soon after leaving the harbor! Then when we arrived at the area we had left whales yesterday, the fog cleared a bit, and we had about a half-mile of visibility! Just as we started our search, a minke whale popped up! This was a very cooperative minke whale (not many of them are!), and it gave us some great looks. 

As we pressed on, our deckhand, Will, saw a fin whale nearby. The first dive was only 4 minutes. Then it was down for 15 minutes but came up really closely!  We waited for over 20 minutes but never saw it again. Oh, those crazy wild animals....

In the meantime, a cute little harbor seal pup showed up, curious about the boat! 

As we were heading to our last haunt, we found a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. The group was spread out but swam by our boat several times! We only see dolphins on about 20-25% of our trips so this was pretty special given the reduced visibility!  

A couple of shy harbor porpoises were seen on our trip home, just after we passed through the Isles of Shoals. 

The Friday afternoon trip was canceled due to the forecasted stormy conditions, but we look forward to getting back on the water tomorrow. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

August 24, 2022

Wednesday morning's trip was filled with variety, including multiple ocean sunfish, blue sharks, harbor porpoises, a harbor seal, Atlantic white-sided dolphins and minke whales! 

The eye of an ocean sunfish!

Atlantic white-sided dolphin

Wednesday afternoon, the ocean sunfish disappeared, but we again saw dolphins, porpoises, a blue shark, several minke whales and a huge fin whale!  The fin whale, #0520 (nicknamed Pac-Man),  was holding its breath for a long time (15-20+ minutes) but we still were able to get a nice look at it. 

Fin whale nicknamed Pac-Man

Dolphin mom and calf

Minke whale

Minke whale near fishing gear

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

August 22-23, 2022

The impending heavy rain and wind held off just long enough (sorry if some folks got soaked in the parking lot!) to get a trip in on Monday morning. The seas were calm, really calm. A gentle disturbance was enough to trigger eyes, maneuver the boat, and allow for some great looks at marine life. We saw a small pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins (including a couple calves!), two minke whales, four ocean sunfish, and even a blue shark.

Atlantic white-sided dolphins
More dolphins!
Minke whale (above and below)

A massive ocean sunfish!

We even passed a razorbill as we scoured along the open ocean.

Tuesday was another beautiful day spent in the Gulf of Maine. Both trips provided a variety of marine life. On the morning trip we saw three ocean sunfish, four minke whales, a fin whale, two blue sharks and a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins.
Minke whale
Ocean sunfish
Tip of the dorsal fin and tail of a blue shark
Atlantic white-sided dolphins swimming through such calm seas
Atlantic white-sided dolphins
The afternoon had it's own great looks watching two ocean sunfish, a fin whale (which took a bit of patience), and two minke whales. Always fun to see what we are going to come across during our adventures offshore!
Ocean sunfish
Fin whale spout
Fin whale