Newburyport Whale Watch

We See Whales!

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Monday May 25

Happy Memorial Day

It was another lovely day to whale watch as we waited to depart it was warm and a bit humid and most folks dressed for the day (on land).  Heading into The Gulf of Maine and heading north the temperatures began to drop slightly.  The sun didn’t shine as much as our weather folks had predicted so yes a bit of a chilly day, remember temperatures can drop 15 to 20 degrees when you head off shore, always dress for New England weather and be prepared with layers and its always a good idea to pack a light weight rain coat for those unexpected “pop-up” showers.

Our destination today was the same area we spent time in yesterday, except today we spent time with 2 humpback whales!

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Veteran’s tail shows how she got her name

“Veteran” was our fist sighting.  A female born in 1985, first seen in 1986 making her 29 years old.  Our most recent data on Veteran shows she had her first off spring  in 1993, a whale named “Lucky”.  As far as we know Lucky has no known calves and male or female has not been confirmed as of yet.  Calf # 2 was born in 2002.

In the same area but not “associated”  with Veteran was “Tether”  We saw her yesterday and again today, just like yesterday she had been feeding and left evidence behind to prove that, yup whale poop!  Tether was first sighted in 1990, making her about 25 years old,and 3 calves to date.

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Tether the humpback

Both of these mature females showed us the size and unique patterns of the underside of their flukes (tails), they’re glowing green pectoral flippers as they came up to breathe, and immense size and beauty.

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Call to make a reservation today.  After Father’s Day we run every day Monday-Thursday 10am-2pm, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 2 trips, 8:30 and again at 1:30.

Many thanks to all of our passengers today from ALL of us at Newburyport Whale Watch have a happy, healthy, and safe balance of your weekend!

A special Happy Birthday wish to Juliann who turned “6″ today, I believe she said at 1:41 she was born?  What a great way to celebrate a very special day.

Cheers

Sunday May 24

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Whales have been spread out all over The Gulf of Maine during our last few weekends of trying to watch them.  We have covered a lot of water on each trip, some days successful and other days well not so much.  It’s never because of our lack of trying we sometimes just never know where they maybe from day to day, even hour to hour.  Today our searching paid off.  We did travel a distance but it was ALL worth it.

Our star of the day was “Tether”  a female first seen in 1990 making her just about 25 years old.  Tether became a mom for the first time in 2005, a calf given the name of “Autobahn”.  Calf number 2 made an appearance in 2008, and number 3 in 2011.  We are very fortunate to have relationships with fishermen and other whale watching boats to communicate and share information of the where a bouts of sightings of whales.  To date there are no electronics that we can simply turn on and it shows us where whales are present, communication and a keen eye is key.

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What made today even more special was “Tether”  is a humpback whale who has spent most of her time in Nova Scotia, in The Brier Island area.  Tether was alone and so were we, we were able to spend a lot of quality time with her.  Her behaviors included some high fluking, sounding dives, low flukes, some close to boat approaches, and a favorite of mine, deficating!  Humpback whales eat a tone of food per day, about 1 million calories so what goes in must go out.  From the looks of her “whale poop”  it looked like mackerel and herring were the specials of the day.  Whale poop is full of nutrients that whales release back into our waters to help plankton and zooplankton growth.

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See the poop? The brownish water just under the tail!

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Tether’s unique fluke pattern

Monday looks amazing for weather conditions come out and celebrate marine life and celebrate all who have fought for our country, our freedom, and our rights.

From all of us at Newburyport Whale Watch thank you for being with us.

Cheers!

 

First Weekend! May 9th & 10th

The first weekend of whale watching is in the books!
It was a successful weekend and we’re happy the season has finally started.

Saturday was a chilly one and the ocean was still trying to calm down from high winds on Friday. Being the first whale watch boat out on the Jeffreys Ledge area we had a challenge since we didn’t know where the whales had been lately. We had an early sighting of a group of Harbor Porpoise that we actually got surprisingly good looks at. We then found a huge fin whale. We were able to get very nice looks at this fin whale for a while until it decided to showcase it’s speed and move out of the area.

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Harbor Porpoise

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Fin whale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday was a whole different day! The heat was rising quickly on land and we were excited to find some cooler air offshore. We went a different direction today and headed South to Stellwagen Bank. We had a few good reports which ended up being a little farther away than we had hoped but we decided to make the journey. One we arrived in the area there were many whales spread out. The first group we headed to was a pair of humpback whales. It was actually a female by the name of Palette and her ~5 month old calf! Palette is 26 years old and this is her 7th calf that we are aware of.

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Happy Mother’s day Palette!!

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Palette’s unique tail pattern

After leaving Palette and calf we had a tough time deciding where to go next and there were quite a few whales spread out.  We headed over to a few spouts off in the distance and came to an area with 2 fin whales and a sneaky humpback whale. We got some good looks at one of the fin whales before we got distracted by the humpback that popped up nearby but was very hard to keep track of. We managed to get a photo of the tail and are currently working on the identity of that humpback. In total we believe there were 6 humpback whales and 4 fin whales in that general area and even a quick sighting of a minke whale.

Can’t wait to see what our next trip brings!

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We’re Back!!

We are just days away from the first whale watch of the season! The entire crew at Newburyport Whale Watch has been working hard all winter! Boats always need repairs but there’s a lot of behind the scenes things that have been happening as we’re always attempting to improve our program! We cannot wait to be back out there with the whales and hope you all are equally as excited.

For the spring we will be running trips Wednesday through Sunday all departing at 10 am. Starting June 17th we will go into our full time schedule running trips 7 days a week. Check our Rates and Schedules page for more details.

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So happy to have the Captain’s Lady III back in the Newburyport Waterfront!

Sunday, October 12 (Last trip!)

A little chilly, but otherwise lovely fall conditions made a perfect ending to our amazing 2014 whale watching season!

We ventured out to southern Jeffreys Ledge today, and though the journey was a bit on the longer side, traveling 22 miles from Newburyport, it was well worth it. There were possibly 15 humpbacks in the area all moving around quite a bit. We were able to get close looks at at least 6 individual humpback whales, as well as passing some pods of Harbor Porpoise during our travels. In further inspection of my photos, I discovered that the whales were messing with us a bit switching up their groups without us noticing.

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Echo and her calf

Our first whales of the day was a group of three whales. A mom with her calf and what we sometimes call an “escort”. Often times we see an additional adult whale traveling with a mother and a calf. We don’t know why they do this as it’s usually short lived and we can see the same mom and calf with different escorts throughout the season. This escort was a whale by the name of A-plus (named for a marking that looks like “A+”).

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Echo (back) and her calf (front)

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The underside of Echo’s tail

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“Rain-blow”

While spending time with this trio A-plus broke off from Echo and her calf and we left them all shortly after that. We moved into an area where we had a pair of humpback whales. And while waiting for them to resurface we noticed a single humpback whale off in the distance slowing moving towards us. Within a few minutes the single humpback joined up with the pair of whales were watching. And to make things interesting the single we believe was A-plus! The other two whales were identified as Decimal and Bolide.

 

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A humpback named Decimal

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Bolide’s all black tail

After leaving this trio of whales we had just enough time for one more sighting. We found a single humpback whale and it turned out to be my personal favorite humpback by the name of Pinball! Pinball is a 25 year old female that we see every year on Jeffreys Ledge, and she has had 6 calves that we know about! At least for me it made a perfect last sighting of this amazing season!

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Pinball!

Just wanted to take the chance to say thank you to all of our passengers for another great season. It certainly was an exciting one! We already can’t wait until the spring so we can see what the 2015 season will bring! But first many of our whales will travel south and hopefully have lots of healthy babies to bring back up here next year! Wishing you all a safe winter! Stay warm!

 

Monday September 29

We had a school trip today, students from Somersworth NH, had  one of the best whale watches of the fall.  Leaving the river we saw over 10 harbor seals,  chasing down fish, resting on the rocks, or just swimming around enjoying a calm and quiet morning in the river.

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Harbor seals taking restDSC_0949

As we entered into The Gulf of Maine we soon spotted our first “toothed” whales of the day, Harbor Porpoise, we have been very fortunate to see these little whales everyday for weeks now.  These little guys max out at about 6 feet and weigh in at about 200 lbs  We soon left the porpoise to find some larger whales, and we found them!  “Churn” and “Shuffleboard” were together today.  Churn” is a male that was first sighted in 1997.  “Shuffleboard” was first sighted in 2008, right now thats all we know about these two humpback whales.

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“Shuffleboard”                                        

 

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“Churn”

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Humpback right in front of our students today!

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Humpback whale along side of us

 

We left our two humpbacks and continued to look around for more marine life.  We had 3 Minke whales that were doing what Minke’s do, darting all around, popping up were we didn’t expect.

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One of our 3 Minke whales today

As we were waiting for our humpbacks to come back up 2 fin whales came along side of us taking many breaths at the surface.

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Unique dorsal fin of one of our fin whales

 

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Fin whale #2, close by

What a day of marine life!  We are very fortunate to have so many species of whales and other marine life in our New England waters.  Everyday is a complete surprise when we leave the dock, some days lots of life, others not so much.  All of us were thankful we had such a wonderful day on the water, especially when you have a boat full of anxious, excited, students on board.

Many thanks to Mrs. Hamm from the Somersworth school ( and her other staff) for once again putting this trip together for all of her students, we appreciate that you returned again this year.  We hope to see you again next year!

Cheers

Sunday, September 28

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Harbor Porpoise

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Atlantic White Sided Dolphins

Today’s whale watch finished out the weekend with a bang, or a Grand Slam, as we like to call it in the whale watching world. The weather was absolutely perfect, flat calm ocean and warm sun, seemingly the last hurrah of summer, and the marine life was in on the party! We couldn’t travel more than a few miles at a time without finding something!

It’s hard to explain the day step by step, so here are just a few of the highlights. After passing a few groups of harbor porpoise on our way out we came across a pair of fin whales that had an associated group of Atlantic White Sided Dolphin with them. We got some amazing looks at the fin whale that surfaced right along side us. With perfect lighting we were able to see the entire body of this whale beneath the surface.

 

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Fin whale

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Amazingly close looks at this fin whale. Notice the lighter colored pectoral flippers on the left!

Later we came across a pair of humpback whales. We struggle getting good looks at these whales with so many other vessels in the area, but luckily we got a few good looks at them while they were resting at the surface. We were able to identify these two whales as Jabiru (first seen in 2002) and Shuffleboard (first seen in 2008).

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Jabiru

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Jabiru (front) and Shuffleboard (back)

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Shuffleboard

On our way home while trying to get looks at another fin whale we had an interesting interaction with a blue shark. This shark seemed like it was “attacking” a log floating in the water. It kept coming up to the log, splashing around next to it, rubbing up against it. Then once we got close it seemed to realize we were there and swam away quickly. Not sure what the shark was doing, possibly just trying to figure out what the log was, none the less it was an interesting sighting.

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Blue shark rolled on it’s side next to the log

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Blue shark (swimming towards upper right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our third humpback of the day, a whale named Repeat

We finished out the day with a good sized ocean sunfish. It was amazing the amount of life we came across today and there was more weren’t able to spend time with. We had a total of 6 Fin whales, 1 group of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins, at least 3 groups of Harbor Porpoise, 3 Humpback whales, 3 Minke whales, 1 Blue shark and 1 Ocean Sunfish!

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Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola)

Saturday September 27

What a day!

We could not have asked for better weather conditions than we had today, yes it is fall but summer returned in a big way today!  I love when the weather folks are correct.  As we traveled out of the river we had several Harbor seals popping up all around, making some very visible splashes as they were chasing down a mid morning snack.

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One of many Harbor Porpoise on todays trip

Our first stop right out of the river we came across Harbor Porpoise, we some times question our selves when we see these small toothed whales, they tend to be shy and a bit elusive.  Our first pod proved us wrong!  These small whales actually stayed close by, close enough for all of us to hear the “puffing” sound of each breathe.

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“Quote”

Humpbacks were around today, we spent time with 6!  Our first individuals were “Buzzard” born in 2000, and “Quote”, a female born in 1983, both were doing some feeding and logging (sleeping).

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Evidence of feeding whales, whale poop!

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A Yellow Warbler found a safe place to rest

Other humpbacks we spent time with were “Shuffleboard” first sighted in 2oo8, “Jabiru” first sighted in 2002, “Sword” a male born in 1984, and Springboard” a female first sighted in 1997.

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Fin whale #0808

The above photo was taken from a distance away,and you can still see  the impressive length of the second largest whale in the world.

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Amazing look at the huge head of our fin whale

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Humpback heading down

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One of many seals on todays trip

The conditions for tomorrow are going to be even better than today, reaching 82 degrees, along with a light sea breeze.  Don’t let our recent sightings pass you by, we have been waiting for our humpbacks to return and they have in a big way!

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Thank you to all of our repeat passengers who joined us today, it was a pleasure to see you all again, and to all of our first timers, we thank you for choosing Newburyport Whale Watch and we look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

Make your reservations now for a beautiful day on the water with some breath taking marine life.

Cheers!

 

 

 

Friday September 26

A picture perfect day on the water with 6 Humpback whales, 3 Minke whales,  Harbor seals, and a Ocean Sunfish.

Today began with our first 2 whales of the day, “Spoon” and “Chromosome”  Our 2 friends were not doing high flukes but eventually we did see the underside of the tail confirming our sightings.  Spoon was going down to the bottom (330ft) returning with mud covering her upper and lower jaw.

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“Spoon” notice the mud!

 

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“Spoon” with “Chromosome” in the back ground

 

“Spoon” is a female humpback whale that was first sighted in 1977!  One of our older whales at about 37 years old.  She had her first calf in 1983 and her last in 2010, making her a mom of nine!  “Chromosome” is a male humpback first sighted in 1991, making him about 23 years old.  These two were seen together last week traveling together.

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“Chromosome” any idea how he got his name?

 

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“Spoon” heading down

“Spoon” is a very large, beautiful, and graceful whale who was “napping” a lot today and enjoying a lazy day not lifting her enormous tail (fluke) very high out of the water.

 We left Spoon and Chromosome and headed to see two more humpbacks, “Jabiru” and “Shuffleboard”

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“Jabiru” (L) and “Shuffleboard” (R)

It was a bit difficult to get great looks at these two due to the fact they were in the middle of a fleet of boats attempting to hook Blue Fin tuna.  During out time with these two whales a Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola) came into view.  We were not able to get very close to the largest bony fish in the world but most folks on the upper deck were able to.

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The dorsal fin of “Jabiru”

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A portion of “Shuffleboard’s” fluke pattern

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“Sword”

The weekend forecast is calling for a high of 80 degrees on Saturday and Sunday a high of 82 degrees!  This could be one of the last summer like weekends, both days there will be a slight sea breeze to keep us all perfectly comfortable! whales, great conditions, a blast of summer weather! it doesn’t get any better than that!

Our well equipped galley can take care of your breakfast, snacks in between, and lunch!  We also have very cold beverages for both adults and children, all you need is your selves,  family and friends, our crew will take care of the rest!

Our season is coming to an end after trips on Columbus Day weekend, don’t miss out on the opportunity to spend time with such a variety of marine life in The Gulf of Maine.

Thank you to all who joined us today, it was a pleasure having all of you on board, from all of us at Newburyport Whale Watch, we hope to see you all again on a future trip.

Saturday September 20

A lot of life out on the ledge today, which included some wind, spray, and hardy passengers!  Weather predictions are ever changing one minute all is well the next gusts send the salty spray in all directions.  Our whales didn’t seem to be bothered by the sea conditions, they almost seem to enjoy it!  We saw some breaches in the distance, and tail lobbing as we slowly approached all the activity stopped and our humpback disappeared below the surface.  We did spend some quality time with “Black Hole” and “Nike”.  These two whales were associated feeding and traveling together.

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“Nike” the humpback whale

 

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“Black Hole” the humpback whale

 

“Black Hole” is a female first sighted in 1998, making her about 16 years old.  She had her first calf in 2003, 2005, Acrobat in 2007, 2009, and last documented calf in 2011. She was lifting her enormous tail high out of the water, some tail rises and surfacing with mud covering her upper and lower jaw, a very hungry whale!

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“Nike” dorsal fin

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“Black Hole’s” dorsal fin

 

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“Black Hole” fluking with “Nike” in the back ground

It’s always interesting to see How different each tail, and dorsal fin can be in each humpback whale, we also get to witness certain characteristics that make each whale so special.

We also came across some dolphin today, these small toothed whales were darting all around, having a great time in the surf.  We also had 2 Fin Back whales that didn’t spend a lot of time with us but we did get some looks at the second largest whale in the world.

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“Black Hole”

Our season is NOT over yet!  Fall is amazing on the water, our humpbacks have returned to the ledge (for now) grab your friends and family and spend the day breathing in the fresh air, warm sun, and of course the marine life of The Gulf of Maine.

We are whale watching Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until Columbus Day weekend, one trip per day, 10 am departure returning at 2 pm.

Make your reservations today!

See you soon!

Cheers

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