Friday, August 18, 2023

August 16-18, 2023

 August 16-18, 2023

Wednesday morning, we got a report of some whales much closer to home than they have been recently! We headed to the area and got waylaid by some Atlantic white-sided dolphins! This was a group of about 50-75 individuals with many calves! So cool! Lot of jumping out of the water and gliding right next to the boat!

As we got near the reported area, we spotted a large fin whale in the distance.


Then a pair of humpbacks surfaced near the fleet of tuna boats. To our happy surprise, this was Pinball and her calf! As you may have read, Pinball was entangled on Saturday and was rescued by the amazing Marine Animal Entanglement Response team at the Center for Coastal Studies. Disentangling whales is a dangerous job, and we are thankful to that team for saving our Pinball!  Today we found the pair quite a distance from where she and her calf had been spending time prior to the entanglement. She and her calf acted like nothing happened, just moving around the area as typical whales do! What a sigh of relief!


We continued along and found another humpback whale, Clamp! She has been seen around a dozen or so times this season and was our most frequently seen humpback whale last year. Some more dolphins came into the area and seemed to check out Clamp for a moment before moving on.

On our way home, we saw another small group of dolphins, and then some grey seals as we passed through the Apple-Smut Gut in the Isles of Shoals!

Wednesday afternoon, we returned to where we had seen Clamp on the morning trip; fortunately, she was still in that area! 

After several looks at her, we moved on and relocated Pinball and her calf! The pair is still doing well and even exhibited signs of nursing! We saw a grey seal napping at the surface and several minke whales darting through the area.


Great day with lots of variety!

Thursday morning, we passed by a couple groups of harbor porpoises. These small animals are generally shy of boats, so we kept going. The flat calm seas made spotting marine life pretty easy. We saw a blow in the distance, and it turned out to be Pinball and her calf again! We are so glad that they have chosen to stay in the area! The calf was apparently nursing while Pinball took short dives and spent time at the surface. 

A couple of minke whales darted around the boat, possibly feeding on the same schools of fish that Pinball was. 

After we left Pinball and her calf, we spotted a blue shark cruising along the surface! Blue sharks can be skittish, but this one stayed near us for a little bit! Cool!

Then we found Clamp again, and in the same area we saw her yesterday! Lots of schools of fish were seen on our fish finder instrument, and also lots of tuna boats were anchored in the area, so that is turning out to be quite the hotspot! Clamp was taking short dives and spending a good amount of time at the surface between dives. She even did a little high fluke/tail flick at the end!

On our way home, we got a call from one of our boater friends about a pod of dolphins not too far from our course home. We ventured over there and luckily found these speedy critters! What an amazing group! It was fantastic hearing the kids on board screaming with joy! The dolphins even surfed in our wake for a while when we left!

Thursday afternoon, we headed offshore through the Isles of Shoals and got terrific looks at these historic islands. It wasn’t too long before we had our first whale – a humpback named Clamp!  Clamp was circling around slowly, moving back and forth among the tuna boats.  The first time she dove, she flipped her tail in the air and we got a great look at her distinctive markings.  

After spending some quality time with Clamp, we went a little south and spotted Pinball and her calf!  They were also moving slowly, circling around. At times the calf was right next to Pinball, possibly nursing, and occasionally they drifted apart. It is always exciting to get great looks at one of Blue Ocean Society’s adoptable whales!  

We also had a couple minke whales during the trip, one which traveled slowly parallel to us and we spotted its pointed snout and dark back several times.  Thanks to everyone who joined us this afternoon!

Friday, the storms kept us on shore, but we will try again tomorrow!



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