June 27, 2017
We ventured out today despite the forecast inland of t-storms and luckily we did! We ran into the same mom and calf pair of finback whales we had seen the other day when we had camera issues. I was so happy to finally get to document them! But as they did the other day they were up one minute and gone the next. We searched the area and they never seemed to surface near us again. This mom has found a sneaky way to leave the area and protect her baby from what she might consider a threat.
Next, we explored around to see if we could find Hornbill again today. And after some searching we did! He was behaving the same as yesterday, short shallow dives followed by longer deep dives. He was circling around the area presumably looking for lunch.
A couple of minkes passed by in the meantime. Being 20 miles off shore and having some rain coming in we decided to start heading home. We hit some rain and clouds on the way home but our Captain Todd got us all home safely despite the storm.
In total today we saw 2 fin whales, 1 humpback and 3 minkes!
June 26, 2017
We watched Hornbill for a while and kept an eye on another blow in the area. This blow belonged to Gondolier, a male humpback first spotted in 1992. We watched him for a while as well. Having him come up right next to the boat gave us amazing looks at this whale.
We searched for another whale who’s blow we saw in the distance but it never re-surfaced. Still a great day with some humpbacks out on Jeffrey’s Ledge!
June 25, 2017
It was a great day to be out on the water! Our naturalist just had one little tiny problem….her camera had an error come up on the first whale and refused to take any photos of today’s trip. Luckily, cell phones can capture pretty okay images so for today’s whole report you will have to bare with me as I show you what I got!
Frist, we started with a blow that our volunteer, Dan, pointed out. It belonged to a determined finback whale. It was determined to find food and was traveling around the area, usually away from where we were. We never did get very good looks at this whale until we had almost given up and it came up right next to the boat…this is when I discovered my camera was broken.
We had another fin whale in the same area so we decided to go look for it. We stumbled upon a minke whale and then our fin whales appeared! A mother and calf pair! Always great to see new whales being added to the population. We saw them do a few synchronized dives and then they disappeared.
We continued on eventually finding two different basking sharks and getting some cool looks at them! Since rain was treating the remainder of our trip we started heading home but we did have a scenic ride through the Isles of Shoals!
June 24, 2017
We stayed on the dock yesterday due to some unfriendly storms on the coast but luckily today it was clear, sunny, breezy and flat seas. Our trip did start off with some fog, but that didn’t stop us from seeing some harbor porpoises before we even got to the Isles of Shoals. Once the fog cleared up we came across a feeding basking shark!
We got some great looks at the shark before venturing around to find some whales. We found a minke, who popped up next to the boat a few times giving us some great looks. After a little, we continued on in search for more.
We came to a few blows belonging to some fin whales. We got to look at a couple of them. A few times appearing just a few feet from our boat. It’s been a great summer for finbacks so far, they have been seen nearly every single day for a few weeks. Always a really cool thing to see the world’s second largest animal in the world swimming right along side the boat.
On our way back to the harbor we passed right by another minke whale which we watched as we made our way back to the harbor. Overall we saw 3 finback whales, 4 minkes, 2-4 harbor porpoises and 2 basking sharks. Beautiful Saturday afternoon well spent!
June 22, 2017
Wow – so much variety out there today!
We headed out to where we’ve had some whales over the past few days, and found a fin whale. It wasn’t spending much time at the surface, but we eventually got a good look at one of them and a quick look at a basking shark that passed near the bow!
We decided to head further offshore out to Jeffreys Ledge, and found a few more fin whales. We spent lots of time watching these huge, graceful animals. The whole time, we kept our eyes on some blows further in the distance. We had a choice – to go back inshore and try to get some better looks at the whales there, or head offshore to investigate.
We decided to investigate, and were well rewarded! The blow was from a humpback whale! This was Gondolier, who was first sighted as an adult in 1992. We got some terrific looks at Gondolier, who approached the boat several times and fluked right near us.
In addition to Gondolier, there was so much other life in this area – at least 3-4 fin whales, 4-5 minke whales, and yet another basking shark! We were surrounded by whales, all of whom were spending plenty of time at the surface. We did a plankton tow at one point and it was chock-full of copepods. It’s so neat to see this aspect of the food chain and the prey that the shark was likely feeding on.
We really got to experience the variety of life in this area today! Thanks to everyone who joined us!
June 21, 2017
June 18, 2017
It was a little bumpy out there today! But there was plenty of sunshine and nice, cool breezes to beat the heat onshore.
We cruised out toward Jeffreys Ledge and got a nice look at the Isles of Shoals as we passed through these nine historic islands. As we headed further out, the whitecaps kept fooling us into thinking we were spotting marine life. Finally, we did see a blow in the distance. This turned out to be a fin whale!
As we headed over to the fin whale, we started seeing more blows in the area. There were at least 5 or 6 whales in the area. Thanks to some expert maneuvering by Capt. Brad, we got some great looks at two of the whales, while we watched the others spout in the distance.
To be surrounded by 60+ -foot whales is always awe-inspiring! Thanks to the group from North Dakota and the other passengers on board for all your enthusiasm. We are glad you got to experience our local whales!
June 17, 2017
Every day is so different on the water. We headed out today with a healthy swell making the ride a little extra entertaining.
About 18 miles out we spotted a spout. This ended up being our 1st finback whale of the day. Finbacks are hard to wrap your brain around. They are so big yet so very graceful and hydrodynamic. It’s hard to appreciate their full length because they surface over a rather long period of time with at most 1/4 of their length exposed.
As we waited for the fin whale to come back up we had a super close and sneaky pass by from a minke whale. Minkes are usually our most common baleen whale sighting but have been scarce this year. This little whale came up right alongside the port side of the boat and then quickly dove. If you were in the right spot you could see this whale’s white mittens on his pectoral flippers. Such a treat! No pictures:( We also realized we had several fin whales in the area with at least 2 others nearby.
The conditions continued to improve while we watched these giant whales doing some rapid dives and foraging. Next up we went to see a humpback whale. This whale was also feeding and even came up right in front of the boat with a little bubblecloud!
We got some great looks at this whale who turned out to be an identified female born in 1990, Clamp.
As we went to leave for Rye we had 2 basking sharks at the surface. These are the 2nd largest shark reaching lengths up to 25′. They are filter feeders are are great indicators of a productive food chain.
We also had some cool pelagic birds out there with Northern Gannets, Wilson Storm Petrels and even a shearwater. Just a couple miles outside the harbor we had a 3rd Basking Shark!!! So close. Every day is different.
Once we’re back at the dock Mason watches a fishing line while the boat gets cleaned….he landed a striper with a little help.
Come join us for what’s next. Happy Father’s Day!
June 15. 2017
We braved the choppy waters today to go find some whales. Since we knew they were close we sailed out in the white cap waters to find them. Luckily we did and we were rewarded with several finback whales.
We watched as many as we can, estimating 6-8 fin whales in the area. Having the second largest animal around us is always surreal! Join us this weekend for Father’s Day!
June 14, 2017
Wednesday’s whale watch was filled with fin whales! Before we got to Jeffreys Ledge, we came into an area with at least 4-5 different whales. We spent a little time with fin whale #0402, before finding another well-known fin, #0282. A minke appeared right off our bow, and more spouts were seen in the distance!
Whales everywhere! We then ventured out a little further, about 20 miles from Rye Harbor where we found a trio of fin whales!! This is a unique sighting since fin whales are usually by themselves, or spread out over a large area. Having three of these huge whales all together was pretty amazing to see!
June 13, 2017
Another successful day on the water! It was 95+ degrees on land, but much more comfortable on the ocean, with calm seas that allowed for excellent visibility!
Fin whales were numerous again today. We got a quick look at a basking shark, but it wasn’t spending much time near the surface, so we moved on to some blows, and found 5 fin whales. We spent time with a single fin whale, and got some great looks as it circled around. The students aboard from Russell Elementary School got to see something we don’t see every day – whale poop! It sounds kind of gross, but it also provides evidence that the whale was feeding on fish in the area.
Eventually, this whale joined up with another single fin whale in the area. These pairings are interesting, as fin whales are typically solitary and we often don’t know the whale’s gender or why they swim together for short periods.
We then moved on to see another pair, and this was also an interesting sighting because it was the same pair we saw on Sunday – Blunt and friend! Blunt was first cataloged in 1982, making this whale likely a minimum of 40 years old since it was an adult when it was first sighted. We haven’t identified Blunt’s friend yet.
After some fantastic close looks at the fin whales, we headed out east to see what else we could find, and saw a minke whale – one of only a few we’ve seen so far this season! At an average length of 20-30 feet, these are considered a small whale – and that smaller size is especially evident after you’ve already watched some fin whales After some great quick looks at this whale, it was time to head for home. We cruised through the Isles of Shoals and got a look at the beautiful scenery there before heading back to the harbor.
Thanks to Russell Elementary School for joining us today!
June 12, 2017
No better way to spend a hot summer day than miles offshore with some whales! Today on Captain Todd’s first whale watch of the season, we found quite a few blows after a short time exploring.
We had around 13 fin whales in the area and several minke whales as well. We started with a fin whale who was being a bit difficult and moving around the area with short surfaces. Since we had lots of options around we headed to a different whale.
Later in the trip, we had a fin whale head straight to the bow of the boat before it must have realized we were floating there and decided to make a quick u-turn, right under the pulpit. I had never seen a fin whale that close up! You could see his eye and his tail pumping under the surface of the water. Definitely a treat!
After spending some time with this whale and getting looks at a few others in the area, we headed to a new area where we saw a few more blows. There we found another finback whale who was taking longer dives.
Overall it was a fantastic day out on the water. We got to see so many blows, fin whales and minkes for a great trip out on the water. Join us DAILY at 1:30 PM for whale watching!
June 11, 2017
Just a sunny lovely day on the water today. We headed out towards Jeffrey’s Ledge and soon had the signature tall blow of a fin whale in the distance. Once we got closer we realized that we had 1 fin whale close and at least 2 others in the immediate area. Fin whales are a treat in part due to their superlatives. They are the 2nd largest animal to ever live on the planet. They are just enormous. But graceful. And fast. And pretty.
We stayed in the area and were treated to some really close looks as 1 fin whale surfaced alongside the boat. Whales have been photographed and catalogued in the Gulf of Maine for over 40 years. This particular whale was identified as Blunt (#0506). A fin whale first seen 1982 and seen on Stellwagen, Mount Desert Rock, Scantum, Jeffrey’s Ledge. Such a treat to be part of a 35 year old record of this animals life here in the Gulf of Maine.
It’s always hard to appreciate the size of a fin whale simply because they only show us a fraction of their total length when they surface. We had such nice patient looks that we could easily see the white lower jaw on the right side glowing a green color through the water. We watched as the head and blowhole broke through the surface and produced a spout. Next, we saw the area behind the blowhole with the characteristic V-shaped markings used to help identify individual fin whales. Then finally the dorsal fin located 2/3 of the way down the back. Blunt was so close we could also see some orange spots on his flanks from algae (diatoms).
We eventually left our 3 fin whales and went out a little farther to where we had yet another fin whale.
We sailed home with the blows of even more whales on the horizon around us. On the trip through the Isles of Shoals I snapped a quick picture of one of the islands and you can just make out a seal hanging out at the high water mark. We have both harbor and gray seals here in NH in the summertime.
With highs in the 90’s forecast for tomorrow and water temps in the 40s a whale watch will offer immediate AC. Come join us!
June 9, 2017
June 4, 2017
Today it took a bit of searching on the calm beautiful blue waters to find some familiar whales. We came across a blow and before we knew it there were several blows in the area. The first whale we got to see close up was Hornbill, a humpback we have seen since 1977.
Around Hornbill was a finback whale and a minke whale. The minke whale was difficult to keep track of, but the fin whale stuck around for a while. Usually surfacing while Hornbill was down on a dive.
It’s always a fun trip when we get to see several species feeding near each other! Join us this weekend on Friday at 9:30 AM or Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 PM!
June 2, 2017
May 28, 2017
I know is sounds redundant…but such a great trip! I am not sure where the sunny forecast of a day or so ago went. We headed east towards Jeffrey’s Ledge with gray skies and a little bit of a chop. When we came to a blow we found that there were really many whales spread out in basically every direction. Our 1st close look was a smaller humpback whale that was surfacing unpredictably with 2 Atlantic white sided dolphins! Every time the humpback surfaced so did the 2 dolphins. Such a treat?! We dont see that association very often and it was great to observe. As that 1st humpback moved to the west we had a slightly larger pod of dolphins visible off the back of the boat and then a 2nd humpback dove letting us see its tail. This whale was Pinball! An old favorite and one of our adoptable whales.
As we waited for either of the humpbacks to reappear you could see light blows just about everywhere. The origin of these blows turned up almost under the pulpit of our boat when 2 sei whales surfaced in synchrony. These are a rare sighting for us and a highlight. Usually found offshore these whales skim feed at the surface and are known for their speed. As they exhaled directly in front of the boat their breath washed over us verifying that yes they were feeding on something fishy:) Did I mention the chop out there? I was being a bit too careful with my camera and missed a great sei whale shot. Oh well. They are in my memory and sometimes that’s the best way to experience life.
We could still see blows all around but were quickly distracted by some surface active whales causing huge splashes a little farther east. This ended up being a humpback whale calf and its much beloved and frequently sighted mother, Owl. The calf was breaching, spy hopping, flipper slapping and chin breaching and just causing chaos at the surface while Mom responsibly fed below.
Calves are favorites for this reason. They have to learn how to control their buoyancy and are relying on mom’s milk for food so they have lots of time and incentive to play. The chop on the water also seems to encourage them to be more active. This little whale and his mom made some close passes by the boat. The calf came up vertically next to the left bow in a spy hop. So fun. Such an amazing blessing to witness so much activity from a wild animal.
We eventually had to turn around and head back to Rye. We passed the blows of so many sei whales on the way through. A few miles to the west we had the big tall blow of a fin whale and watched from a distance as that whale went down for a dive. The trip home was much more forgiving as we sailed home past the beautiful Isle of Shoals. What an amazing day. So lucky. We saw so many things that we tell people not to expect: dolphins, mothers and calves, breaching, interspecies associations, sei whales. You just never know. Come join us find out what the next surprise will be!
May 27, 2017
Sei whales only come into our area occasionally, presumably, when the prey conditions are right. These 40-50 foot whales feed on zooplankton, krill, schooling fish and squid. Today we were lucky enough to see them feeding at the surface! While we stayed in one spot, the sei whales opened their enormous mouths at the surface and we could even see their baleen and the throat grooves that they expand while feeding. As we watched a trio of sei whales feed, we could see at least 2 more other groups of sei whales feeding nearby, all charging around at the surface!
May 21, 2017
What a gorgeous day! Everything was in bloom as I drove to the harbor and there were reports of whales out on Jeffreys Ledge. We started with the tall signature blow of a finback whale just a few miles past the Isles of Shoals. This whale was staying down for 5+ minute dives and traveling quite a bit between breaths. As we waited for the whale to come back up we had a second finback surface in the distance. We quickly decided to head farther east to where we had reports of more animals. There were so many birds out there today! We had Northern Gannets all over the place. These pelagic birds are just awesome to see as they cruise up 60′ or 70′ and then dive down into the ocean to feed on fish.
Next up we had the shorter blow of a humpback whale. This turned out to be a a rather familiar humpback, HWC #0050. Most of our humpbacks have names, but not this one…just a number. This was the 50th whale entered into the Gulf of Maine humpback whale catalog and was 1st seen in 1976…making #0050 at least 41 years old. We see this whale regularly on Jeffrey’s Ledge and frequently in the early part of the season.
Again this whale was making repetitive dives and traveling a bit while down. We did have one surfacing where we could really appreciate the pectoral flippers glowing green through the phytoplankton in the water.
We had a 2nd humpback fluke up in the distance while we watched #0050. Eventually we headed a bit south and met up with a widely dispersed pod of Atlantic White sided Dolphins traveling with another finback whale. Dolphins are always a treat and to have them associated with a finback whale was even better! I failed to get a good picture of them surfacing in association with the fin whale:(
We did have a nice close surfacing where we could see the white lower jaw of the finback glowing green through the water. We eventually had to turn back towards Rye and home. The trip back was great as we cruised by the Isles of Shoals. 3 species of whales today and fantastic conditions. The season is in full swing. We go out Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend….come join us…and Mason (the boat golden:)
May 20, 2017
Whale watch season is finally here! After a long awaited 7 months, we got the most beautiful day out on the water. The seas were calm and clear, then sun was out and so were the whales!
We started our trip with a familiar humpback whale, #0050, who we’ve seen the last few summers. It was swimming around taking short dives and popped up right next to our bow at one point giving us some fantastics looks at the first humpback of the season! A minke also passed by us while we were waiting for #0050 to resurface.
Since there were several other blows in the area without even noticing, #0050 dove down and a different humpback whale came up. We ID’ed this whale as Sabot, a female first sighted in 1990. We hung out with Sabot for a little bit and then ventured off to two tall blows in the distance belonging to some finback whales.
This pair was #0354 and Crow! They stuck together for as long as we watched them. Although fin whales are solitary animals sometimes they partner up for some cooperative feeding. There was another fin whale in the distance but unfortunately we didn’t get an ID.
At the end we saw 2 humpback whales, 3 fin whales and a couple of minkes. Not a bad start to the season! We hope to see you on the Atlantic Queen this summer!
May 12, 2017
We have arrived back in Rye Harbor after a long winter of maintenance and updates on the Atlantic Queen II. We have completed our U.S. Coast Guard inspections and are now good to go for our opening day of whale watching on Saturday May 20th. Word from the local fishermen is that the whales are out front in large numbers. Let’s hope that is a sign of a great season to come! We will be running whale watches on Saturdays and Sundays (plus Monday May 29, Memorial Day) at 1:30 pm. Daily trips begin on June 10 at 1:30 pm. You can call ouroffice for reservations at 603-964-5220 or book online thru this site!