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Wed Aug 16 – Whale Watching

Extraordinary is an Understatement!

There are not enough superlatives to describe yesterday’s incredible encounters! For our 12th trip of the season, we headed off to search for whales a few miles off Block Island where we saw them on our previous voyage. The transit was marked by large patches of pelagic birds: hundreds of Cory’s and Great shearwaters and Wilson’s storm petrels, some noticeably feeding at the surface, but no cetaceans were among them. That was until we spotted multiple blows belonging to, at first, 5-6 humpbacks, including two associated pairs feeding in rich tuna fishing grounds. To our surprise, two fin whales joined in, along with a minke whale, marking three cetacean species within a quarter mile of each other. We watched these whales for a while, before heading on towards additional blows, belong to two more humpbacks, and enjoying great views of these and the fin whales which approached close to our vessel. Just when we thought it could not get any better, we spotted a tremendous number of birds and bubbles ahead of us, followed by 4-5 humpbacks surfacing with mouths wide open, straining the prey through their baleen. This phenomenon was repeated by a group of three additional humpbacks nearby, along with many others in the near vicinity tail-throwing and chin breaching. The actual number of individuals remains to be determined through photographic analysis but preliminary estimates suggest that we encountered at least twenty humpbacks, possibly four fin whales, and 1 minke. A group of 40-60 short-beaked common dolphins also arrived along with a gray seal spotted in the harbor both before and after our cruise for the icing on the cake. It was an unbelievably amazing day on the Viking Starship and with only six trips remaining, you won’t want to miss your opportunity to join us during our incredible 2023 season!

20-28 humpback whales

3-4 fin whales

1 minke whale

40-60 short-beaked common dolphins

1 gray seal

350-500 Great shearwaters

80-120 Cory’s shearwaters

120-180 Wilson’s storm petrels

Undetermined number of Pomarine jaegers