Sun Aug 6 – Whale Watching
Patience and persistence pay off!
Our tenth trip of the season had us worker harder than usual to find cetaceans, but as with our other nine trips, we succeeded! We first headed south of Montauk following up on reports of whales, but instead of whales, we found several small pods of inshore bottlenose dolphins, collectively totaling 120-140 individuals. The dolphins were feeding and moving in tight circles around our vessel, in some cases charging towards an area and actively tail-slapping the water. Passengers had great views of the dolphins, which literally surrounded our vessel, and even heard vocalizations when they passed near the bow. We spent time observing their feeding strategies and tight-knit social structure, and even spotted a few mom/calf pairs swimming closely together. As wonderful as the encounter was, we moved on in search of larger cetaceans. At first, our only encounter was with a deadly killer; a mylar balloon floating at the surface. With the potential of being ingested by marine life mistaking it for food, we maneuvered the vessel to collect the balloon and remove the harm. This good karma may have played a role in what happened next; soon after, small tuna were seen breaking the surface and a blow was spotted in the distance. The whale was far off, but seemed to be humpback whale based on our initial observations. While waiting for the whale to surface, we encountered a fin whale approximately 75 feet in length. This whale turned out to be the same individual encountered on Wednesday’s trip (as identified by distinct notches on her dorsal fin). CRESLI knows this whale because, prior to these recent observations, she was last encountered in 2010, accompanied by a calf, not far from this location. We removed another mylar balloon and discovered the humpback whale while waiting for the fin whale to surface. Both whales were feeding on bait detected 50 feet below the surface in 170 feet of water, leading to long down times. We returned to port later than normal accompanied by a beautiful summer sunset heralding the end of a wonderful day.
- 120-140 inshore bottlenose dolphins
- 1 humpback whale
- 1 fin whale
- Leaping tuna (small)
- 30 Wilson’s storm petrels
- 20-30 Cory’s shearwaters
- 11 Great shearwaters
- 1 Parasitic jaeger
- 1 Glaucous gull
Photos will be posted at https://drartiek-cresli.smugmug.com/CRESLI-2023-Whale-Watches/2023-08-06-Montauk-Whale-Watch/
Please remember to bring cash to purchase drinks and food from the galley and for our 50/50 raffle, if you wish to do so.