Newburyport Whale Watch

We See Whales!

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Friday August 29

A bit of fall in the air today, the sun was shining and we  had a very nice variety of marine life to spend time with.  Our first stop was with a large pod of Atlantic White Sided Dolphin, always a pleasure to see, dolphin just seem to make everyone happy, me included.

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White Sided Dolphin making quite the splash!

 

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Dolphin on the run!

Our fin whales were slow moving, close by our boat, and gave us some fabulous looks at them.

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Fin whale splash guard

 

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“Dingle”

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Tall cone shaped exhale from one of our fin whales with White Island Light in the back ground

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“Foot Print” aka “Fluke Print”

Dingle was with a friend again today, the friend has not been given a name or number just yet but they really seem to like spending time together.  At times they exhaled together, popped up together, other times one right behind the other.  What is puzzling about these two  is we normally don’t see baleen whales together for this amount of time they are pretty solitary animals, except for mom/calf pairs and it isn’t mating time, its feeding time.  These two have been traveling together for days!

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“Dingle” and a very special friend

During our travels today we also saw Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna chasing down some schooling fish, 2 Minke whales, and a couple of Harbor Seals both in the river and out by the Isles of Shoals.

The weekend calls for great weather make a reservation and spend a beautiful day on the water with us and some very cool marine life!

See you soon.

Cheers

 

 

Thursday August 28

The folks who predict the weather were off quite a bit today.  As I watched the news last night they were talking of sea’s 6 to 10 feet and of course we had many cancellations, we still had enough to go and we had a great day of weather and whales!  Sorry to those who cancelled!

We started our day with a Minke whale who came up a few times very close by then disappeared.  As we waited for our Minke to come back up we saw a small pod of Harbor Porpoise, some of our passengers got a quick look.

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Beautiful Finback Whale

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Harbor Seal watching us

 

“Dingle” the fin whale was in the area again today with another friend, these 2 fin whales spent a lot of time with us, coming up together which is always a wonderful sighting.

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“Dingle” and friend

 

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Just a small portion of a fin whale

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Fin whale splash guard and blow holes

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Fin whale close by a lobster boat

 

Our day was filled with all types of marine life, 3 Minke whales, 3 Finback whales, 2 pods of Harbor Porpoise, and 8 Harbor Seals.  Not a bad day at all!

The weekend looks perfect for whale watching, come out on our Saturday morning trip and then spend the day at the water front listening to a free concert sponsored by “The River” 92.5, they have a great line up of artists and the weather looks perfect!

After Labor Day our schedule is Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, one trip per day 10am to 2pm.  Fall is a great time to be on the water, actually everyday is a great day on the water!

Come out and see us and all the marine life  that we have the pleasure of seeing each day.

Thank you to all who came out today we hope to see you again.

Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, August 27

Once again today we were grateful to trade the hot humid air on land for the nice cool breeze on the water. We headed off in a southeast direction in search of a recently reported sighting, not finding what we were looking for we came across a fin whale! This fin whale was doing long dives and just in the time we watched this fin whale a bit of wind moved in creating a lot of white caps making spotting a bit more difficult. When the fin whale’s dive time was approaching 15 minutes we decided to leave.

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Our first fin whale of the day

As we headed back in a northwest direction the sea state improved and we were back into calm, white-cap-free waters. Our friends on the Granite State had another fin whale that they shared with us. As we approached they told us that their fin whale fluked for them, we could only hope it would do it for us as well. This fin whale was a friendly face for us, it was Dingle! In the past I’ve noticed that when dingle goes down on deeper dives we often see his fluke tips. Well today he was feeling a bit fluke-y! Dingle showed us its tail (also known as flukes) 3 different times. This is a behavior that’s common to other species like humpback whales but not fin whales! We have no idea why Dingle kept lifting his tail especially because he would remain at the surface and not dive down. Regardless of why he did it, it was an amazing sight for all on board!

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Dingle the fin whale!

 

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A normal behavior for a fin whale going on a dive… but it’s what happens next that’s exciting..

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the underside of a fin whale’s tail!

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Close surfacing of Dingle the fin whale

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Looking into the huge blowholes of a fin whale as it exhales

I feel like a broken record when I say “every day is different” but it really is, especially that we’ve seen Dingle many many times this season but just today he decided to lift his tail!

Tuesday, August 26

Today was a great day to escape the hot, humid air in Newburyport into the much cooler air on the ocean. We did have a bit of wind on the water making spotting whales a bit more challenging but that didn’t stop us from having a great day. After a bit of searching we came to an abrupt stop, both Captain Bob and I saw something pop up right in front of us. Neither of us knew what it was so we took some time to look around. While looking around we were able to spot a small minke whale, and then all of a sudden there was a large fin whale right behind us! We spent time following around this fin whale as it was taking short dives but definitely doing some traveling, we had a hard time keeping up with it. We also saw a second minke whale in the distance while watching our fin whale as well as a curious harbor seal!

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Our fin whale going down on a dive

After leaving our fin whale and heading off in the direction of another sighting we were in the vicinity of our friends on another whale watch boat the Granite State and they pointed out a large amount of splashing to us. It was an enormous pod of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins! This pod had probably 250 individuals in the group! Everywhere you looked there we dolphins, it was an amazing sight! We were able to spend a lot of time with these small toothed whales.  There was also many Northern Gannets flying around the group of dolphins. These Northern Gannets feed on the same food our dolphins are eating so it is common to see these birds and other sea birds following our dolphins. There were many adorable little dolphin calves swimming along side their mothers. It was such an amazing experience for everyone on board and really can’t be put into words.

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A mother dolphin and her calf swimming along side us

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Mature northern gannet swimming over our dolphins

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Speedy Atlantic White Sided Dolphin

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Another mother and young calf!

 

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Just a few of the dolphins our passengers were able to enjoy

So including our harbor seal we had a 4 species day! But the most time was spent with two of our species, the fin whale and our incredibly large group of dolphins! Can’t believe we’re in our last week of full time whale watching! But not to worry, we continue to whale watch on a modified schedule until Columbus Day!

Monday August 25

Hot summer conditions came back in a big way today but once we left the river it cooled down and we had a beautiful day with a lot of different sightings and super calm conditions.  As we left the river we had several seals swimming all around, always fun to see.

Our first stop was with Harbor Porpoise, a total of 4 pods today and we actually got some nice looks at these small toothed  whales.

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Harbor Porpoise

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2 Harbor Porpoise

 

Believe it or not these are good sightings of these little whales, they are quite shy and only reach a max length of 6 feet and weigh about 200 pounds.

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One of many Harbor Seals on our trip today

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Harbor seal taking a look at us!

All seals are very cute but they do have teeth and being a wild animal if threatened they will bite, please remember they are a protected species so be sure to give them plenty of space if you see one hauled out on local beaches.

Our Finback whales have returned to the area, they took a few days off and went exploring only they know where, but we are so happy they have returned.

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“Dingle” the fin whale

Dingle was with a friend today, both at times right next to each other, other times one right behind the other.

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Dingle’s friend

Fin whales are the second largest whales in the world!  Larger in mass than any dinosaur!  These two whales were very relaxed moving nice and slowly on the surface.

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Steep arch of one of our fin whales heading down

We had a total of 3 Finback whales on today’s trip, so happy they returned.  We also had 4 Mola mola on our trip today, sadly 2 of the 3 had injuries to dorsal fins.

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Mola mola with dorsal damage

 

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Mola mola aka Ocean Sunfish

Ocean sunfish are the largest bony fish in the world and we saw 3 of them today!

We had both whale watchers and bird watchers on board today.  Dave Larson from the Audubon Society spoke about all of the bird life we saw today.

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Shearwater’s

We spotted both Cory’s and great Shearwater’s today.

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Minke whale

Minke whales are a small baleen whale, unpredictable, fast moving, and a favorite of mine.  Some days they are more curious than others, but they always seem to pop up right when we need them.

Hot conditions are in store for the week, its so much cooler on the water and sightings are  very good with all types of marine life.

Thank you to all who joined us today.

Cheers

 

Sunday, August 24

We had a lovely day of whale watching today as the sun was out all day and the ocean calmed down a bit after a rough few days.

The morning trip we started off with a fin whale, the second largest whale in the world! We got some great looks at this fin whale when it finally decided to slow down and pop up right next to us multiple times. Also saw a harbor seal hanging out around some buoys. We later spent time with 2 minke whales that were actually very close to each other for a bit, not something we see every day.

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Morning fin whale

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Harbor seal

The afternoon trip we started out with an amazing look at a minke whale. Captain Chris just barely spotted this minke whale in the distance, and after taking a few minutes to relocate it, the next time it surface it was coming right in for us. We decided to put the engines in neutral and wait, this is the safest thing for the whale. This minke whale decided to swim right under our pulpit and surface right next to us! A great start to the day! We later found 2 fin whales in close proximity to eachother. One of these fin whales is one we like to call Patches as it has a large white patch on it’s right side. We didn’t get great looks at the second whale. We then attempted to leave the area but before we could we came across 4 more minke whales, a harbor seal and a small group of harbor porpoise! A lot of life just a few miles off of the Isles of Shoals!

 

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Close encounter with a minke whale as it’s just about to break the surface

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Notice the very pointed snout poking out of the water

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Minke whale surfacing close by

 

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Afternoon fin whale “Patches”

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Minke surfacing with White Island in the background

Always a great day on the water and especially spending it with whales!

Saturday August 23 AM & PM trips

A bit of wind stirred up the sea’s yesterday.  Conditions have been like glass so we have been quite spoiled.  We headed out to  to the same area where whales have been spotted in the past week to find a lot of them had moved to other locations.  Whales will remain in area’s where there is a lot of food, if it dries up they will continue to search until they find more.

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“Minke” on the move

In the morning we didn’t have a lot of sun which made finding our “smaller” whales a bit more difficult. All hands were on deck for our search.

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Naturalist and deck hand Amy helping in the search

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One of our Minke whales of the day

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Minke whale

Each day is so different when you go on any type of nature adventure.  Each day we leave the dock in Newburyport we never know what the day will hold. I very grateful to live in an area that has such amazing sea life and no matter what we see day to day, I love my job, my open ocean office, and each day I spend it with whales and have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.  Life is good!

Great weather for the week ahead make your reservations for an upcoming trip, see you soon.

Cheers

Friday August 22

The sea conditions we have been raving about didn’t exist today.  Rain in the morning kept us tied up but we were able to get out for our afternoon trip.  The wind kicked the sea’s up a bit creating some white caps and the sun didn’t feel like shining today, both not the greatest mix for finding and spending time with whales.  We were not alone in our search all our friends on other whale watching boats were around and working together we did see Minke whales and 2 Ocean Sunfish just minutes from the mouth of the river.

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Ocean Sunfish

 

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Ocean Sunfish are the largest bony fish species, lacking a tail, are found in all oceans of the world.  These huge fish can be up to 6 feet across and weigh in between 600 pounds to 1 ton.  Despite their enormous size, ocean sunfish are harmless to humans.  The largest ocean sunfish ever measured was 10 feet across, and weighed close to 5,000 pounds.

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Minke whale

 

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Minke

It was nice to see our friends on The Atlantic Queen today helping us in our search.

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Minke

The conditions look much better for Saturday and Sunday so make your reservations now and we will see you on a future trip.

Cheers

Thursday August 21

Sea conditions have been outstanding, like a lake, some sun, and a light breeze.  There has been a lot of life around lately not just whales but Mola molas, seals, porpoise, and a fin whale (maybe 2) but they were on the very sleepy side.  Whales need to sleep just like we do but they can sleep when ever they feel like it!

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Our Mola mola just under the surface

Our Mola mola (Ocean Sunfish) was right at the mouth of the river, it popped up and spent a little time with us then went down to deeper water and continued on its journey.

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One of our 7 Minke whales of the day

 

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Minke whale

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Huge bubble from our Minke

One very interesting sighting was when one of our Minke whales exhaled under the surface and created a huge bubble on the surface!  I have never seen this type of behavior from a Minke before, there was a lot of bait around so was this whale blowing a bubble cloud?  Only our Minke knows for sure.

We spent time with some VERY good Harbor Porpoise, a small toothed whale, in total we had 3 pods.

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A very small porpoise on the surface

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More porpoise

In the river we saw some big Harbor Seals but the cutest one was a pup just by The Isles of Shoals.

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Harbor seal just swimming around

As we were scanning the horizon we spotted a sleepy fin whale.  It was “Patches”  I haven’t seen Patches since August 2, just about 3 weeks ago, welcome back “Patches”

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“Patches” being very low profile

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Dorsal fin

I sure hope the sea conditions and the variety of life continues.  Every day is different in so many ways.

From all of from Newburyport Whale Watch we do thank you for spending the day with us, from our locals to our passengers from Belgium.  We do hope you enjoyed the variety of life and perfect conditions we had today.  We hope when you want to return for another whale watch once again you will choose us.

Cheers

 

Wednesday, August 20

Another beautifully flat clam day on the ocean. We have been so lucky with the weather! Today it didn’t take us too long to find our first whales. We first just saw a single minke whale but then it turned out to be an area with 4 different minke whales all spread out. We spent a few minutes bouncing between whales trying to get closer looks until we finally picked one to focus on and this particular whale, by chance, ended up being the star of our trip. This minke whale was very friendly, it kept coming up right next to us, swimming under the boat. Normally we have to chase around minke whales but today we almost just parked the boat while this whale swam all around us. Some of the best looks I’ve ever gotten of these smaller baleen whales. At the calm conditions allowed us to get great looks at the whole body as it surfaced close by many times.

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Close surfacing of our friendly minke whale. Notice the “minke mittens” on either side of the whale. Minke whales have a white band across each pectoral flipper.

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Minke whale head out of the water as it surfaces at a 45 degree angle.

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Beautiful conditions for minke whale watching!

We reluctantly decided to leave this minke whale since we still had lots of time left to do some searching. We came across many more minke whales but all of them being much more elusive than our very friendly whale, which is actually much more typical for minke whales. We did come across a small pod of Harbor Porpoise, again normally more of a shy, elusive species of toothed whale, this very small whales didn’t mind us at all and remained close by for quite a few minutes before we followed a minke whale that popped up in the same area. Harbor Porpoise are very small, 3-5ft, whales that are common in our area but often hard to spot unless the seas are very calm and usually swim away quickly.

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Harbor Porpoise

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The small, dark , triangular shaped dorsal fins of these very small whales.

We finished off the trip with some great looks at an Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola) that allowed us to get some great look at it very close by.

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Ocean Sunfish

Great day for lots of sightings with lots of visibility in such calm seas! In addition to our group of Harbor Porpoise and Sunfish we ended up with a total of 8 minke whales! Never a complaint after a lovely day on the water. Thanks to everyone who joined us! Can’t believe it’s already mid-August, the season is going by too fast! Come on out with us while you still have a chance, we whale watch until Columbus Day!

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