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In the Great South Channel

Monday, August 12, 2013:BREACHING HUMPBACK 2013-08-13

 Our 13th trip to the Great South Channel in the past 12 years was definitely not an unlucky one. In fact, it was one of the best of all time. Our 1st morning, with nearly flat seas and unlimited visibility made finding the whales as easy as waiting for the sun to rise. We began to see blows off in the distance, 20-30 blows at a time on the port side, and just as many on the starboard of the bow, forming what is best described as the “picket-fence” effect. Whales were everywhere. Our first area gave us easily 75 whales and we able to get close and photograph scores of humpbacks, minkes, and a few fin whales. By 10 AM some had taken over 1000 photos. We heard of a group of 50 whales north of us and we headed there and found them.

We stayed with the second group through late afternoon and were treated the amazing sights of sideways surface lunge-feeding on massive quantities of krill. Folks looked for the red patches and found whales, dolphins, sand eels, and sharks feeding on krill, and shearwaters feeding on the sand eels. Earlier in the day we had seen whales bubble-feeding and open mouth feeding, sights many of us had seen before, but the krill feeding was spectacular and a new one to observe for almost all of us.

78 humpbacks photographed on this day (64 identified, 14 to be indentified), 20 minke whales, 2 fin whales, 20 white-sided dolphins, bubble feeding, open-mouth feeding, sideways lunges, multiple breaches, pectoral flipper slapping, tail slapping, kick-feeding, spy-hopping, trumpet blows, moms and calves and thousands of pelagic birds – and that was just day 1 (12 hours of sighting effort).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013:

Our second day began with fog, whales, and dolphins all around us. We weighed anchor and headed south towards where we had our first massive group of whales, hoping to find visibility and whales. Once the fog was gone, the whales were easily seen again. Today, some repeats, but also lots of whales we hadn’t seen before. There were often traveling in pairs. One breached about 12 times near us, while off in the distance, we saw humpbacks breach at once. What a way to end our trip! We had 4.5 hours of sighting effort on our 2nd day and encountered 22 humpbacks (16 identified).  Of the 22 identified, 10 had not been seen during the previous day.c

Totals:
97 humpback whales
(82 identified, 15 unknowns)
20 minke whales
4 finback whales
50 Atlantic white-sided dolphins
Brown shark
Blue shark
~2000 Cory’s Shearwaters
~6000 Great Shearwaters
~500 Sooty Shearwaters

We are still reviewing the photos - but have identified 77 of the 97 humpback whales we encountered.

We have now encountered 778 humpbacks in our 13 offshore trips to the Great South Channel and Stellwagen, and locally.  With the of the members of the Gulf of Maine Humpback group, the Center for Coastal Studies, Allied Whale, Boston Harbor Cruises, and the FlukeMatcher groups on Flickr and Facebook, we have photo-identified 319 different whales during these trips

Photos of 2013 Known and unknown humpbacks
Photos of 2013 Feeding
Photos of 2013 Breaches
Interactive Map with Photos
Video of surface active group
Video of Breaching and flipper slapping (Hi DEF)



Click here to see a list of all humpbacks from CRESLI trips since 2002
Click here for a gallery of our identified humpbacks from 2002-2013

August 12-13, 2013

12-Aug 2013 13-Aug 2013
ALTAIR A-PLUS
AMPERSAND BLACKHOLE
ANGUS BOMBAY
ASWAN CONVICT
BLACKHOLE CROWN
BOWLINE DUSKY
BUCKSHOT & 2013 CALF ECHO
CAJUN EMBER
CALDERAS GAP
CANTILEVER JUMANJI
CHINOOK LEVEL
CONVICT PERSEID
COOKOUT SKATEBOARD
CORAL STONEWALL
COSMOS TECTONIC
DASHDOT YAGTZEE
DOME 6 MORE
DUSKY  
EMBER  
FERN  
FIREFLY & 2013 CALF  
GANESH  
GANGPLANK  
GLO & 2013 CALF  
GOM-0882  
GOM-1010  
HABANERO  
HORNET  
INCHWORM
INFINITY
IRIS  
ISOCELES
JOY  
JT  
LARIAT
LEUKOS
LICHEN  
LILIUM  
LONGBOARD  
LOON  
MAYO  
MEERKAT  
MIRA  
ORBIT  
PENINSULA  
POLARIS  
POX  
RAPIER'S 2009 CALF  
RUNE (MOLSON) & 2013 CALF
SCRATCH  
SCRIMSHAW  
SHIMMER  
SKATEBOARD  
SNARE  
SOOT  
TEAR  
THICKET  
THREAD  
THUMPER  
TRACER  
TRIM  
TUNGUSKA  
TWISTER  
UNDERLINE  
VERTEX  
WARRIOR  
9 MORE  

For more information on humpback whales, click here.

For links to earlier sighting reports and photos from Great South Channel trips, click here.

 

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