Monday, August 28, 2023

August 26-28, 2023

We only had one trip on Saturday, and while there were varying levels of fog, haze, and swells, the whales never seem to mind the environmental conditions. Sightings started with an ocean sunfish as we made our way offshore.

Ocean sunfish

During our trip, we spent time with six humpback whales including Patches, Sword, Valley and her 2023 calf, Othello, and Dashdot. Gosh, these whales are always impressive to watch!

Humpback whale surfacing nearby

Valley and her calf

Sunday's trips continued with numerous whales, a few swells, and plenty of moments with wildlife. Multiple times we had whales on either side of the boat. There was so much to look at and enjoy. Sunday morning we were fortunate to spend time with eight humpback whales - Pinball and her 2023 calf, Clamp, Satula, Valley and her 2023 calf, Jabiru, and Spoon. Some whales were sleeping, some circling and there was even a tail breach or two.

Pinball and her calf
Clamp and her "active" diving skills
Valley and her calf

On Sunday afternoon, the moments continued with nine humpback whales identified. Sightings included Quote, Ebony, Patches, Clamp, Satula, Pinball, Jabiru, Spoon, and Sword. Whales continue to circulate through the area, some lingering, while others may just be passing through.

Patches being active (above and below)

Satula diving (and pooping!)

We are into our fall whale watch schedule so we only had one trip on Monday. The fog was waiting for us in the harbor but dissipated a few miles offshore, woohoo! We sighted a few humpback whales, the dominant species we've been seeing recently. For Monday's trip, it was Pinball and her 2023 calf and Clamp.

Pinball's calf upside down
Mid-flipper slap!

All three whales were busy circling around the area, likely focusing their attention on the plentiful food below the surface.

Pinball in one direction and her calf facing in another direction
Clamp moving around with the Isles of Shoals in the background

We wrapped up the trip with ~20 Atlantic white-sided dolphins.

Atlantic white-sided dolphins (above and below)

Even though whale species have been consistent in recent weeks, every day is different, every trip is different and moments are so unique!

Friday, August 25, 2023

August 23-25, 2023

 August 23-25, 2023

Wednesday morning, we passed a harbor seal and a minke whale before finding the humpback whale named Clamp! We watched her for a bit before moving on, and then found Pinball and her calf! The pair continues to look good after her entanglement a couple weeks ago.

Clamp diving

Pinball diving

Pinball and calf

Pinball swimming a little to close to more gear!

We spotted another blow in the distance and was surprised to see that it was Clamp again! She had moved a good distance from the first sighting. While watching Clamp, a blue shark surfaced next to the boat. 

Clamp's blow
Clamp diving

Then we found another mom/calf pair: Valley! These two were then suddenly joined with another adult whale, Gunslinger! Things are definitely feeling like fall with some new whales showing up!


Valley and calf

Wednesday afternoon, we passed by a nice group of harbor porpoises within a mile of leaving the harbor. Then we heard some fishing boats talking about a humpback whale just behind the Isles of Shoals. We searched that area for a while, without finding the whale so we continued on, seeing some seals bobbing around in the water close to the islands. We spotted a blow in the distance, slowed down and waited for the whale to resurface. As we waited, we saw some splashing in the distance. Dolphins! We watched the pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins for a bit before resuming our search for the whale.

Soon we saw another spout. This was Mogul!! (Sorry, Merry!) We’ve seen Mogul off and on this season but not regularly. Mogul was very cooperative, surfacing close to our starboard side, swimming  do the side and behind the boat, and then swam up the port side before diving right off the bow! It was like he wanted to make sure everyone on the boat saw him! Show off!

From there we searched in a different area and found Valley, her calf and Gunslinger again! Valley’s calf breached a few times before settling down.

Valley's calf

Valley's calf

Valley and calf diving

Valley and calf diving

Gunslinger diving

Another humpback was seen in the distance so we investigated. This turned out to be Grommet, a whale who was reported to have been seen by other whale-watching boats about 20km south of its current location. Whales certainly move around a lot!!  On our way home, we saw another blow. This was Satula!! We haven’t seen him in a week or so and were happy to have him back in the neighborhood! A minke whale was spotted scooting around the area, and then it was time to go home.


Satula diving

Thursday morning, we saw a blow in the distance that was likely a fin whale, but we never got eyes on it. Then we found the humpback whale named Mogul. Just like yesterday, he surfaced close to the boat, but didn’t do the full lap this time! 

Mogul, coming up close to the boat

Pinball and her calf were also in the area, as were many Atlantic white-sided dolphins darting all around the area! Satula and Clamp were spotted, with Clamp doing her signature high fluke/tail flick maneuverer!  
Clamp diving a little too close to a tuna fishing boat (even though the tuna season is closed right now (?))

Clamp's fancy signature move- a high fluke with a tail flick when diving!

Pinball's calf

Pinball diving

We moved off the hot spot to look at a large pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins and hung out with them for a bit. 

As we came back to the area where the humpbacks were seen, we found another whale named Othello, and then we saw Valley and her calf breaching and tail-lobbing back in the area of the large dolphin pod!  Craziness! 

Valley tail-lobbing

Valley's calf


Whales were all around us, and it was a bit difficult for our team to keep track of which whale was nearby! Not a bad problem to have!

Satula showing up again at the end!

Thursday afternoon, we passed by a couple groups of harbor porpoises before we found a couple of humpback whales a bit north of where we were in the morning. These two, ID’ed as Gunslinger and Patches, were taking long dives and spending little time at the surface.



We moved over to where we saw whales on our trip and found Clamp, Satula, Pinball and her calf, and then Valley and her calf in the distance.



Clamp and Satula definitely stole the show! Satula breached five times, coming straight up out of the water and slamming his chin on the water!


Then Clamp started to kick-feed (lobtail-feed) where she would slap her flukes on the surface to create a disturbance and then surface vertically under the area to engulf her prey! Amazing!
Clamp's signature high fluke tail flick!

Clamp feeding

Clamp lob-tail feeding

Clamp feeding

Both trips were full of activity and incredible memories!

Friday, the weather was uncooperative for whale watching, with lots of wind and rain in the forecast, but we will try again on Saturday afternoon.