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2017 CRESLI-Viking Whale watch reports


All trips leave from the Viking Landing in Montauk Harbor

Make Reservations (Highly Recommended)

07-02-17 08-06-17
07-09-17 08-13-17
07-16-17 08-20-17
07-23-17 08-27-17
   

Sunday July 2, 2017

Wow! What a way to start the season!

Things started slowly, with little action until we saw the Ocean Sunfish. Shortly thereafter, we began to see large numbers of shearwaters and petrels and we got a report of whales just 1.5 miles directly ahead of us. We found 5 fin whales there, spreadout over a half a mile, including a mom and calf (our first whales) and 3 others. There was bait on the water from 50-170 feet down. We began to head home and found 3 more fin whales and 1 minke whale. It was an incredible first trip! A perfect day!

Totals:
8 Fin Whales
1 Minke Whale
1 Ocean Sunfish
1 Blue Shark
46 Great Shearwaters
80 Cory’s Shearwaters
25 Sooty Shearwaters
120 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
4 Manx Shearwaters
1 South Polar Skua
1 Black Tern


Bird counts thanks to Anthony Collerton
PHOTOS

July 9, 2017

Whales, dolphins, sunfish, and a sea turtle. What a day we had! An amazing trip-even better than last week's.

We saw 11 fin whales, 500 dolphins, a loggerhead turtle and lots of action and pelagic birds. We were headed to a spot around 15 nautical miles away but began to find whales closer. Our first whales were a cow/calf pair with the calf logging (sleeping) at the surface and the mother was searching for food. This pair we had seen a week earlier 10 miles to the southwest. The calf was logging (sleeping) just under the surface. After a while with them, we headed further out and found another cow/calf pair that were staying close to each other as we would expect because the calf was small and young, diving together, swimming together. The calf decided to come close and roll over next to us and swim across our bow twice. Mom decided to swim between us and the calf, the calf swam around mom and moved next to us again. We left them to find yet another cow/calf pair and then several other singleton fin whales. These whales were joined with 500 short-beaked common dolphins. All were feeding . One fin whale came up and did a sideways surface feeding lunge. We found and stayed with another cow/calf pair until it was time to head back even though we were surrounded by fin whales in all directions all around us. Everyone had a great day!

Totals:
11 Fin Whales
500 Short Beaked common dolphins
1 Loggerhead turtles
1 Ocean sunfish
300 Great shearwaters
300 Cory’s shearwaters
10 Sooty shearwaters
1 Manx shearwaters
100 Wilson’s storm petrels


Bird counts thanks to Arie Gilbert and Pat Aitken

PHOTOS and VIDEO

July 16, 2017

Humpbacks, bottlenose dolphins, fin whale, and more!

Another great whale watch trip! We started the day with a plan to head about 15 nautical miles from Montauk, where whales had been seen the day before. As we passed Montauk Lighthouse we received a report of dolphins and a whale about 3 miles from where we were. So, we headed there and a few miles later found our first humpback of the 2017 season, a young and active whale. There were about 200 inshore bottlenose dolphins, including many young ones swimming and feeding in the same area. This young whale surprised us all by doing a beautiful full body rotating breach. After 40 minutes and 4 miles with these animals, we headed further offshore to find more whales. Six miles later we found another young humpback, and 15 miles after that, a massive finback whale. Throughout the trip we encountered various fish, from an ocean sunfish to a hammerhead shark. We also found quite a lot of pelagic birds.

Totals:
2 Humpback whales
1 Fin whale
1 Ocean sunfish
1 Hammerhead shark
200 Bottlenose dolphins (inshore population)
15 Cory's shearwaters
10 Great shearwaters
1 Sooty shearwater
300 Wilson's storm petrels
1 Northern Gannet (immature)


PHOTOS

July 23, 2017

4 Humpbacks! We are still at 100% success for 2017!

We didn’t have to go far to find our first whale- right at the edge of town, shortly after turning west at the Lighthouse. It was a large, active humpback. Tail throws, flipper slapping and rolling over tail throws! There was lots of action as it fed on some bunker. Bunker was everywhere and we found 3 other humpback whales over the course of the next few hours from Gurneys to miles off of Ditch Plains. Our last humpback whale was one we had seen 6 nautical miles further south one week earlier. There were more humpbacks seen breaching off in the distance, but we we were unable to spend the time getting to them, There's always next week.

Totals:
4 Humpbacks
10 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
20 Cory’s Shearwaters
1 Great Shearwater


PHOTOS

August 06, 2017

15 Humpbacks!! 100 Bottlenose Dolphins……


Our streak of finding whales continues. This time, within 40 minutes of leaving the dock and about 10 minutes past Montauk Lighthouse we found the first of our 15 humpbacks! There was bait all over – mackerel, sand eels, and bunker. The first few whales were feeding on sand eels. The last were feeding on bunker. Single whales and mom/calf pairs were seen. Humpbacks breaching, tail throws, and flipper slaps happened. Oh, and loads of bottlenose dolphins too. It was an amazing day with non-stop whales for over 4 hours.

Totals:
15 Humpback Whales
100 Inshore Bottlenose Dolphins
5 Cory’s Shearwaters
2 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
1 Mako shark

Photos

Video

August 13, 2017

Can we find whales in the fog? YES WE CAN!


The trip started out with clear skies and full visibility until some patchy fog rolled in. We had repeats of whales and when we got to the area, the fog lifted and we found our first humpback. Our second humpback showed up next to us as we travelled through foggy areas. We saw one farther off fin slapping, but lost that one in the fog as the near one lured for bunker. Our third humpback also feeding on bunker. When the fog had finally cleared we were able to watch it for a while as it selected dense large bunker patches and avoided smaller ones. A spectacular day again!

Totals:
3 Humpback Whales
22 Great Shearwaters
76 Cory’s Shearwaters
153 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
Bird counts courtesy of Taylor Sturm and Pete Morris

Photos

August 20, 2017

We found whales again! Whales and a turtle.


Shortly after passing the Lighthouse we found our first whale, a young humpback that we hadn't seen before. It stayed near us feeding for some time, totally ignoring our presence. It breached once surprising everyone pleasantly. After a while we left to find others. Our second whale was seen from a mile away breaching and flipper slapping. This one was also new to us. It stopped breaching and began logging (a resting behavior) for quite some time. We eventually left to look for others offshore. Before we left we found a loggerhead turtle. Around 2pm we headed back to the earlier area and found a third humpback also new, and older/larger than the rest. While with this humpback, a minke whale surfaced. It was time to leave, but what a great trip!

Totals:
3 Humpback Whales
1 Minke whale
1 Loggerhead sea turtle
1 Manx Shearwater
5 Great Shearwaters
3 Cory’s Shearwaters
5 Wilson’s Storm Petrels

Photos

August 27, 2017

Mom and calf humpbacks!


A gorgeous day on the water was made even better by finding 3 humpbacks and spending time with 2 of the 3, a mom/calf pair, identified by Dr. Artie Kopelman as Manhattan and her 2017 calf. We first met Manhattan 10 years ago in the Great South Channelas the 2007 calf of Appaloosa. We saw Manhattan again in July and August 2009 off Montauk, just about where we saw her this time.

While we had to go further on this trip we were rewarded with a beautiful pair of humpbacks, synchronized swimming and diving and many tail throws to the calf. These were only surpassed by their close approach to the Viking Star on several occasions. Beautiful to watch. Even though there was another humpback near us we didn’t have time to spend with it. Next Week?


Totals:
3 Humpback Whales
6 Cory’s Shearwaters
1 Parasitic Jaeger
24 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
3 Red-Necked Phalaropes
2 Black terns
2 Northern Gannets

Bird counts by John Gluth
Photos
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