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Wed July 9 – Whale Watching

What a day at sea!

We always begin each cruise by reminding passengers that we are sailing into the natural environment and have no idea what we will see or when. This trip was definitely a testament to that! We traded in the heat and haze of land for cool, ocean breezes traveling approximately 14 miles offshore in search of cetaceans. Visibility improved tremendously and conditions were highly favorable for spotting life at the surface. Despite this, no marine mammals were seen for the first two hours, but things were getting interesting. We passed through numerous debris ‘fields’, likely outwash from the Connecticut River stemming from the heavy rains that pounded New England earlier in the week. Then the water got very warm as we entered a warm-core eddy spinning off the Gulf Stream. Then came the flying fish, and Portuguese Man o’ War, and at last, bottlenose dolphins! These were no ordinary bottlenose, though. Since 2009, CRESLI began predominantly encountering inshore (coastal type) bottlenose dolphins. Yesterday, however, it was the offshore population’s turn to make an appearance. These large dolphins, including a mom and calf pair, swam toward and around the vessel, porpoising and leaping for all to enjoy. After spending an hour with them, we moved on searching for something even larger. As before, it took some time, but good things come to those who wait! A blow was spotted belonging to a fin whale, and shortly after, another belonging to a second. As we observed the fin whales, three more blows appeared belonging to humpback whales! The humpbacks were kick-feeding, pectoral (flipper) slapping, and dragging, a process where, having engulfed tremendous quantities of water and prey, they slowly drain the water out through baleen at the surface. It was an incredible experience, but all good things come to an end, and it was our time to return home.

We will most likely be returning to this spot on Sunday’s cruise. Want to join us??

40-60 Offshore bottlenose dolphins

2 fin whales

3 humpback whales

180 Great shearwaters

73 Cory’s shearwaters

2 Portuguese man o’war

10-12 flying fish

Photos will become available at