Log for Sunday, April 5, 2 pm

After such a great morning, we returned to the same area we had been this morning and were not disappointed.

Upon sighting our first blow, we once again came into the area and were quickly sighting whales in all directions. All in all there were probably about 8 – 12 humpbacks spread out throughout our trip, and also one really fantastic fin whale that got our whale watch started off with a bang by feeding right off our bow!  

Unlike humpbacks, fin whales are often less obvious with their feeding techniques, so when this one suddenly surfaced in a huge side lunge, we got a fantastic rare look at its expanded ventral pleats and the underside of its fluke.  I’ve only seen a fin whale feed up close like this once before, so it was especially a wonderful treat for me.  This individual hung around hunting for food for most of the trip and gave us one more really fantastic close look as it surfaced and swam right past our bow a few minutes later.

The star of the show this afternoon for our humpbacks was a female named Glo who showed us several rounds of awesome kick feeding.  She would give one very powerful slap of her tail, go down below the surface and blow more bubbles in a ring before coming up with her mouth wide open.  We got excellent looks at her baleen and palate!  Glo is also very easy to identify because she is missing part of her left fluke. While many of our whales show signs of orca (killer whale) predation they might suffer when they were calves, since there is no presence of the tell-tale scars from orca teeth (which we call “rake marks”) on her fluke, this leads me to believe that this injury is possibly the result of an entanglement, which is sadly something that the majority of our whales suffer from at least once in their lifetime.  Luckily Glo still seems to be thriving quite well!

We were treated to some great aerial acrobatics by Atlantic white-sided dolphins that stayed with us in the area throughout the trip. At one point we watched several of them jump high in the air through the waves! It’s always a wonderful treat to see dolphins so playful.


Our second ID’d whale of the day was another well-known female named Zeppelin.  It’s been a couple of years since I’ve seen Zeppelin, but I was able to recognize her immediately by her small, dainty dorsal fin that has a slight indent on the top.  She was moving pretty slowly, almost as though she was doing some logging – a resting behavior.  At about this time, many of the whales in the area seemed to be slowing down, possibly taking a break from a full morning and afternoon of feeding!

We left the bank with distant looks at several more humpback whales.  Hopefully a great spring means a great summer ahead!

-Heidi Hansen

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