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2010 CRESLI Viking Whale watch reports

 photo-gallery for all local 2010 whale trips

Videos from July 2010 whale trips

 

Wednesday Sept 1 2010

Common Dolphins again!!

Today we saw 90 Common dolphins in three groups. One group had about 40-50 dolphins of which 5 were babies that were only four months old. They swam around and played with the boat for over an hour!

photos soon

Sunday August 29 2010

Dolphin Mania Continues Still!!

Once again, we found a leatherback sea turtle near Montauk Point, and groups of common dolphins out near CIA. This time we found two groups- one about 30 Common dolphins and a second group of 10. Both groups had adults, juveniles and infants, including one that was only a few days old.

Totals
40 Common Dolphins
1 Leatherback Sea Turtle
5 Greater Shearwaters
2 Cory's Shearwaters
1 Immature Northern Gannet

photos soon

Saturday August 28 2010

Dolphin Mania Continues!!

We located common dolphins west of CIA again today! There were about 45 in total and we spent an hour with then. There were a lot of Mom and calf pairs! Some calves were only 2ft long. We also saw a basking shark breach, but it was only a glimpse.

Totals
45 Common dolphins
1 Basking Shark

Friday August 27 2010

Dolphin Mania!

Today was fantastic! We headed West of CIA and found tons of common dolphins. At one point we were surrounded by more than 200 dolphins. For the whole day we had a total of 350 common dolphins! On the way back we saw two Leatherback Sea turtles.

Totals
350 Common dolphins
3 Leatherback sea turtles
2 Least terns
10 Cory's shearwaters
35 Greater shearwaters
6 Northern gannets

photos soon

Thursday August 26 2010

A tough day- Turtles (briefly) & birds

The day started out well with a leatherback sea turtle right near the point, but the turtle dove just as we got to it and wasn't seen. We headed south and encountered a young Kemp's Ridley Sea turtle about 17 miles out- it too dove and wasn't seen again. While we saw quite a few birds, we never saw any cetaceans- thus it was a tough day.

Totals
1 Leatherback sea turtle
1 Kemp's Ridley sea turtle
18 Cory's Shearwaters
10 Greater Shearwaters
12 Sanderlings
1 Northern Gannet

Saturday August 21 2010

Dolphins!!!

The day started well, with an ocean sunfish just east of the point. We headed east to no avail, then south and west. At 1:30pm we spotted a large group of common dolphins (30-40) including many very young calves. The dolphins stayed with us for an hour- what an amazing display.

Totals
30-40 Common dolphins
8 Greater shearwaters
22 Wilson's storm petrels
2 Northern Gannets
15 Cory's shearwaters
1 Parasitic Jaeger
1 Ocean sunfish
August 21, 2010 photos

Friday August 20 2010

A Basking Shark and Hammerhead Sharks

Today was a great day on the water. We saw 3 hammerhead sharks and a Basking Shark.

Totals
3 Hammerhead Sharks
1 Basking Shark
5 Greater Shearwaters
25 Cory's Shearwaters
10 Wilson's Storm Petrels
25 Sanderlings
2 Semi-palmated Sandpipers
6 Least Sandpipers

photos soon

Thursday August 19 2010

Dolphins, Turtles, Breaching Sharks and Flying Fish

We headed south towards where whales had been reported. From a distance we saw breaching fish; then we encountered the first of our four turtles- a loggerhead. While watching the turtle, a basking shark breached next to us. A hammerhead swam near us a short while later. On our way back we found a green sea turtle, another loggerhead and 10 common dolphins- and awesome, diverse day.

Totals
10 Common dolphins
2 Loggerhead sea turtles
1 Green sea turtle
1 Basking shark
1 Hammerhead shark
30 Wilson's Storm Petrels
12 Greater Shearwaters
1 Cory's Shearwater
15 Wilson's Phalaropes

August 19, 2010 photos

Wednesday August 18 2010

Seas were calm today with good with visibility. We saw no whales, but we did have the largest number of leatherback sea turtles ever seen in one day. Seven Leatherbacks swam close to the boat with one swimming directly under the bow with fantastic views. We also saw many Cory's shearwaters, Wilson's storm petrels and one Northern Gannet.

photos soon

Sunday August 15 - Tuesday August 17, 2010

Humpbacks, fin whales, common dolphins, basking sharks, and thousands of pelagic birds!

The annual Viking Fleet/CRESLI 2010 Great South Channel Whale Watch (our 10th trip in 9 years) was another resounding success! As in every year since 2002, we found quite a few whales (whenever the fog lifted). At times we were surrounded by humpbacks and fin whales, even when we were anchored overnight. The whales were busy feeding at depth and at the surface, on krill and sand eels. Many of the humpbacks were juveniles, and many of the fin whales were cow/calf pairs. 7 of the 15 humpbacks were identified by biologists from the Whale Center of New England, while the others remain to be ID’d. We returned 51 hours after leaving exhausted and exhilarated.

Totals:
15 humpback whales
15 fin whales
20 common dolphins
1 basking shark
2000 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
1500 Greater Shearwaters
55 Cory’s Shearwaters
10 Northern Gannets
1 Parasitic Jaeger

August 15-17, 2010 photos

Sunday August 8 2010

Sea Turtles and a Breaching Basking Shark

Today started really well with 2 Leatherback sea turtles south of the radio tower at the Camp Hero. We headed to where we found dolphins yesterday. We did find a Logger head sea turtle and a breaching basking shark. We had reports of whales but did not find any today.

Totals:
2 Leatherback Sea Turtles
1 Loggerhead Sea Turtle
1 Basking Shark
35 Wilson's Storm Petrels
12 Greater Shearwaters
1 Cory's Shearwater

August 08, 2010 photos

Saturday August 7 2010

Dolphins, Hammerhead and Basking Sharks

It was a gorgeous day on the water: cool, comfortable and calm. We headed South and West to where whales had been seen earlier. We found over 100 Common dolphins, including many newborns. We also found a very cooperative Hammerhead shark, who stayed next to us for some time. We also found lots of breaching basking sharks all around us.

Totals:
125 Common Dolphins
1 Hammerhead Shark
50 Wilson's Storm Petrels
100 Greater Shearwaters
10 Cory's Shearwaters

August 07, 2010 photos

Wednesday August 4 2010

Fin whale, Kemp's Ridley sea turtle and sharks

We traveled to an area about 30 miles from Montauk, SE of Block Island, to where some whales had been seen. We didn’t have any luck there so we headed to the East Mudhole and found a Fin whale. We had some great views of the whale and we also saw a Kemp’s Ridley Sea turtle sleeping next to the boat, near the whale. We also saw two sharks, a hammerhead and a blue shark.

Totals:
1 fin whale
1 Kemp's Ridley sea turtle
1 Great hammerhead shark
1 Blue shark

100+ Cory's Shearwaters
200+ Greater Shearwaters
200+ Wilson's Storm Petrels
1 Pomarine Jaeger
photos soon

Sunday August 1 2010

Fin Whale Calf - Nap Time

It wasn't until 1:30pm that we saw our first whale blows-those of a large fin whale about 1000 yards ahead of us. As we approached the area, we saw smaller, fainter blows- those of a young fin whale calf, no bigger than 30 feet. The calf was resting(logging) just under the surface, next to the boat for nearly 30 minutes before diving and swimming away. He stayed down for nearly 20 minutes, several times, but the calf stayed close enough to u for all to get a good look. A nice way to end this week! We are now at 90.4% success rate in finding cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises).

Totals:
2 Fin Whales (cow and calf)
5 Greater Shearwaters
5 Cory's Shearwaters
50 Wilsons Storm Petrels

August 01, 2010 photos

Saturday July 31, 2010

7 Fin Whales, including 2 cow/calf pairs

We headed east towards where whales had been seen yesterday and we found our first whales just about where we expected. 7 Fin Whales were spread out over several miles. These 7 included 2 cow/calf pairs- one pair we had a good look at and recognized them from earlier this month. The calm seas and beautiful skies were the icing on the cake.

Totals:
7 Fin Whales
2 Greater Shearwaters
40 Wilson's Storm Petrels

July 31, 2010 photos

Friday July 30, 2010

Whales, dolphins, and hammerhead today!
It was a long trip out to to the east, but once we got there the magic really started. The day began with two small (200 lbs) ocean sunfish. Then, as you may have guessed, we saw a hammerhead shark! It was insane- the shark approached the boat multiple while it was just under the surface so we had a fantastic view of it. Shortly after the hammer head we found the fin whales. We saw a total of 6 for the day ranging from 45 ft to 60 ft. It was incredible because they were only a few feet away from the boat hanging out just below the surface. We were able to view the whole body underwater and got an especially good look at the tail. Later we saw a group of 35 common dolphins which were very playful.

Totals:
6 Fin Whales
35 Common Dolphins
1 Hammerhead Shark
2 Ocean Sunfish
10 Greater Shearwater
50 Wilson's Storm Petrels
5 Double Crested Cormorants
12 Wilson's Phalarope
July 30, 2010 photos

Wednesday July 28, 2010

Sunny with a Side of Whales
Today was a beautiful day out of the water. There was a cool breeze, great visibility, and tons of ocean life to see! We started the day off by seeing a massive basking shark breach out of the water. Soon after we saw a small (250lbs) ocean sunfish. Later we spotted 60ft + fin whale. While trying locating a fin whale that had a long terminal dive we found another individual. It was great because the whale came really close to the boat and the passengers got slimmed by the blow of the whale which is always a treat. On our way back we saw 4 common dolphins that rode our bow wave for a while. A sea turtle was also spotted, but it dove before we were able to identify it.

Totals:
2 Fin whales
4 Common dolphin
1 Basking Shark
1 Sea Turtle
1 Ocean Sunfish
10 Greater Shearwaters
150 Storm Petrels

photos soon

Sunday July 25 2010

Dolphins, turtles, and more dolphins!
How can you describe a day with over 450 dolphins and two species of sea turtles (leatherback and loggerhead); not to mention an ocean sunfish and a blue shark. SPECTACULAR!

Totals:
460 Common Dolphins
1 Leatherback Sea Turtle
1 Loggerhead Sea Turtle
1 Blue Shark
1 Ocean Sunfish
50 Wilson's Storm Petrels
3 Greater Shearwaters
10 Cory's Shearwaters

July 25, 2010 photos

Saturday July 24 2010

Turtles, Dolphins, and Whales!
Heading past Montauk Lighthouse we encountered a 6 foot long Leatherback sea turtle. An awesome start to a great day! Our whales- a mother/calf pair of fin whales were first seen by noon. For two hours we stayed with them as they moved closer to Montauk. Near an area SE of the point, we also encountered a group of 100-120 common dolphins including many newborns. What a day!!

Totals

2 Fin whales
120 Common dolphins
~100 Wilson's Storm Petrels
~20 Cory's Shearwaters

July 24, 2010 photos

Friday July 23 2010

Finally!!!

We finally found life in the ocean again! Our first sighting occurred at 10:45am at around 5 miles S.W. of Block Island. We saw an enormous group of about 150 common dolphins. It was incredible! There were several calves and the dolphins were very active, porpoising and spinning out of the water. Shortly afterwards we saw another group of 8-12 common dolphins which were also a lot of fun. Later in the day we saw a Mako shark, a blue shark, and an ocean sunfish. The ocean sunfish was probably about 3ft and around 200lbs.

Totals:

170 common dolphins
1 Mako shark
1 Blue Shark
1 Ocean Sunfish
1 Cory's Shearwater
20 Greater Shearwaters
30 Common terns
325 Wilson's Storm Petrels
2 Northern Gannets
1 Dowitcher
12 Wilson's Phalaropes
6 Sanderlings
1 Loggerhead Sea Turtle

photos soon

Thursday July 22 2010

The day started well with great visibility. We headed SE then continued south and SW but had no luck finding whales. We were able to spot some pelagic birds, especially behind a scalloper but often they were patchily spread.

Totals:
40 Greater Shearwaters
60 Cory's Shearwaters
1 Sooty Shearwater
70 Wilson's Storm Petrels

Sunday July 18 2010

Out to sea to beat the heat and see whales!
While all the landlubbers were soaking up today's heat the crew and passengers on the Viking Starship enjoyed strong breezes and cool temperatures. Once at sea we spotted a sea turtle, 2 fin whales and 1 minke whale, in addition we were treated with the sight of bluefin tuna leaping out of the water and had a great view of a blue shark!

Totals:
1 Minke whale
2 Fin whales
1 Blue shark
1 Sea turtle
75 Bluefin Tuna
6-10 Red-necked phalaropes
1 Northern gannet
5-10 Greater shearwaters
5 Cory's shearwaters
1500-2000 Wilson's storm Petrels

 

Saturday July 17 2010

A Multispecies Day - Fin, Humpback and Minke Whales
We headed east through the haze towards an area of clearer visibility and towards where we have seen whales for several weeks. Our first whales we spotted at 12:16. They were a cow/calf pair of fin whales. The calf had significant scars from what appeared to be a boat strike. Our second cow/calf pair were spotted shortly thereafter. In the same spot we saw a fifth fin whale and a Mike whale. On our way back we briefly saw a humpback whale but it didnt stay and we couldn't find it again.

Totals for the Day:
5 Fin Whales
1 Minke Whale
1 Humpback Whale
1 Hammerhead Shark
400+ Wilsons Storm Petrels
70 Greater Shearwaters
15 Cory's Shearwaters
5 Red-necked phalaropes

July 17, 2010 photos

Friday July 16 2010

Today we had 1 brief view of a fin whale blowing, and then we headed SE to search for more whales, where they had been sighted a few days ago. We spotted our first blows at 1:30pm but the whale eluded us. It turned out to be a nice day on the water- but few sightings.

Totals:
3 Blue Sharks
55 Greater Shearwaters
10 Cory's Shearwaters
150 Wilson's Storm Petrels
1 Manx Shearwater- preening
10 red-necked phalaropes

 

Sunday July 11, 2010

A Bakers Dozen- an amazing end to an amazing week!

Today was a spectacular day on the water, with 13 fin whales and 8 minke whales. We headed east, without fog or rain, and found our first whales just after 11:30. We came across a minke whale and four fin whales, including one of the cow/calf pairs that we've been seeing all this week! The whales were feeding on deep dense bait patches and repeatedly surfaced near the vessel, close enough to almost touch them!! We continued to find whales for several hours, even on our way home! Over all it really was a fantastic day and a great end to a week full of brilliant sightings!

Totals for the day were:
13 Fin Whales
8 Minke Whales
65 Greater Shearwaters
5 Corey’s Shearwaters
200 Wilson's Storm Petrels

July 11, 2010 photos

Saturday July 10, 2010

Whales, Whales, Whales!

We headed east, through the fog and rain this morning. We saw our first whales- a cow/calf pair around noon in the same region we've been seeing whales all week. Two cow/calf pairs constantly swam around us, under us, and in front of us. They rolled over repeatedly, amazing the whole boat. The whales were feeding in dense patches of food and the pelagic birds were feeding in the leftovers. A spectacular day on the water!

Totals for the day were:
12 Fin Whales
1 Minke Whale
500 Greater Shearwater
200 Wilson's Storm Petrels
50 Cory's Shearwaters
4 Sooty Shearwaters
1 Hammerhead Shark
2 Blue Sharks

July 10, 2010 photos

Friday July 9, 2010

Another Amazing Day!
We left a hot and sticky dock and sailed off toward where we saw the whales yesterday. Our first Minke whale was spotted around 11:30am. For the day we saw a total of six Minke whales once again interspersed between Fin whale sightings. At one point the ship was surrounded by Minke whales and several groups of 1-2 Fin whales. The Fin whales dove for about 4 minutes at a time and displayed boat avoidance consistently but we were able to spot different individuals. One Fin whale that had been down for at least 5 minutes surprised everyone by appearing right next to the boat- that was a real crowd-pleaser!
Our totals for the day were:
9 Fin Whales
6 Minke Whales
1 Ocean Sunfish
1 Blue Shark
300 Wilson's Storm Petrels
150 Greater Shearwaters
7 Sooty Shearwaters
7 Cory's Shearwaters
2 Manx Shearwaters
75 Common Tern
5 Lease Tern
10 Crested Cormorants
1 Common Loon

July 09, 2010 photos

Thursday July 8,  2010


Whale Madness Continues!


We drove through the thick fog at the docks into an excellent day with great visibility! The first the we saw was a small ocean sunfish (150lbs-300lbs). After that we continued our track to where we saw the whales yesterday. Fortunately they were there again. We saw a total of 16 fin whales and 10-12 minke whales. There was one mother/calf pair of fin whales and also several groups of 3-4 whales in the area. Minke whales appeared periodically while we observed the fin whales.  Bluefin tuna were also spotted jumping out of the water. At one point a 9 ft blue shark came within 2 ft of the boat!
Our totals for the day were:
16 Fin Whales
10-12 Minke Whales
1 Ocean Sunfish
50 Greater Shearwater
300 Cory's Shearwaters
10 Sooty Shearwaters
400 Wilson's Storm Petrels
1 Royal Blue Shark

July 08, 2010 photos

Wednesday July 7, 2010


Today was FANTASTIC!


Driving east into the haze we first encountered a large adult leatherback sea turtle. Shortly afterward an enormous ocean sunfish (probably around 800-1000lbs) was spotted. We were able to get up really close to it and see the eye since it was swimming near the surface. After the we found our first minke whale of the day, one of a total 10-12 spotted.

The fin whales appeared soon after essentially surrounding us. At one point there were four fin whales swimming next to each other. All the whales were over 60ft long. Later 4 fin whales lunged out of the water repeatedly, almost porpoising. In between the fin and the minke whale sightings we found about 3 patches of 100's of bluefin tuna. For the day we saw a total of 9-10 fin whales. At one point we also saw a blue shark, bluefish and striped bass rolling at the surface. It was a great day!
Totals for the day:
9-10 Fin Whales
10-12 Minke Whales
500+ Bluefin Tuna
1 Ocean Sunfish
1 Leatherback Sea Turtle
1 Blue Shark
100 Greater Shearwaters
200 Cory's Shearwater
200 Wilson's Storm Petrels

July 07, 2010 photos

Sunday July 4, 2010

.
Minkes Galore- An Even Dozen!!


We sailed to the east of Block Island and found 12 Minke whales once again including a mother and calf pair. The Starship spent 2 hours observing the Minkes-They appeared to be a groups of 4 spread out over several miles. The birds today included Greater Shearwaters, Cory's Shearwaters, Wilsons storm petrels, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Northern Gannets, Least Terns, and Common Terns. We also found a blue shark and skip jack tuna.
  • Today's trip was really fantastic. It is incredibly rare to find so many Minke whales, let alone mother/calf pairs and twice in four days!! In 23 years of whale watching trips, we've never seen that many Minke whales at once!!
  • We will check photographs to see if any of today's whales were also seen on Friday.

July 04, 2010 photos

Saturday July 3, 2010

A Beautiful Day on the Water

However we had no success in finding whales, dolphins or porpoises. We sailed to all the areas where whales and dolphins were seen yesterday but to no avail.
  • We saw 15 Greater Shearwaters, 20 Cory's Shearwaters, and 75 Wilson's Storm Petrels.

Friday July 2, 2010

An Amazing Day!

We headed towards the area we saw the whale briefly yesterday. At 11:30am we encountered our first group of dolphins- 30 common dolphins. An hour later we encountered our next group- 60 bottlenose dolphins. We headed homeward and just as the day was winding down we found the mother-load of whales just 12 miles SE of Montauk. We saw 12 Minke whales, 3 Fin back whales, and 1 Humpback whale. Today's sightings also included Greater Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Cory's Shearwaters, Wilson's Storm Petrels, Common Terns, Red-throated loons. All in all it was a FANTASTIC and exciting trip.
    Today's totals were:
    30 common dolphins
    60 bottlenose dolphins,
    12 Minke whales,
    3 Finback whales
    1 Humpback whale
    Today's sightings also included Greater Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Cory's Shearwaters, Wilson's Storm Petrels, Common Terns, Red-throated loons. All in all it was a FANTASTIC and exciting trip.

July 02, 2010 photos

July 1, 2010

Birds, Wind, White Caps, 1 whale and 1 Sunfish

The Viking Starship crew headed SE to an area where whales were spotted a few days ago. We found a few Wilson's Storm Petrels and Greater Shearwaters. We then headed east, where we found an Ocean Sunfish, Cory's Shearwaters, Manx Shearwaters and lots of storm petrels. Finally we spotted a blow, probably from a fin whale about a mile from us so we headed there but were unable to find the whale again.
  • The totals for today were: 1 whale(unknown species), 1 Ocean Sunfish, 5 Manx Shearwaters, 10 Greater Shearwaters, 20 Cory's shearwaters and 50 Wilson's Storm Petrels.
 
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