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2014 CRESLI-Viking Whale watch reports

The 2014 whale watch season is over


Our 2014 Whale watching season ended today. We were unable to find any whales or dolphins today for the first time in 30 consecutive local trips since July 29, 2012. Ah well. This season, like the last, was spectacular. Our local trips brought us in contact wth fin whales, minke whales, humpback whales, short-beaked common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins (inshore and offshore types), leatherback turtles, loggerhead turtles, and Kemp's ridley turtles. 

Our offshore trip to the Great South Channel continued our success for 13 years, with 30-40 minke whales, 3 fin whales, short-beaked common dolphins, white-sided dolphins, and 91 humpback whales (80 have been ID'd).

Since 7/29/12 through 8/27/14 we found cetaceans on 29 consecutive trips. We were bound to finally miss. What a ride!!! For specifics on all of our trips since 2000 and links to potos and maps, go to http://cresli.org/cresli/cetacean/ww_sightings.html


Best Photos of the 2014 Whale Watch Season

All trips leave from the Viking Landing in Montauk Harbor


Here's an interactive map of our 2014 sightings from 8/17-8/27
 

Here's an interactive map of our 2014 sightings through 8/10

Sunday June 29, 2014: The whales are here!

Fin whales, humpback whales and dolphins! What a way to start the season!

We started with a sad sight of a dead leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) and hundreds of Wilson's storm petrels (Oceanites oceanicus) feeding on the decaying carcass. It was shortly thereafter that we saw our first group of 20 short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) as we headed towards where we were hearing reports of whales. Soon we saw another group of about 30 common dolphins, then a large group of about 120 of them. WOW!

Later we saw our first whale blows. Two fin whales kept us busy for quite some time. Our third fin whale showed up as we were trying to leave. Eventually we had to leave, but on the way back we passed two more fin whales and one humpback whale. They were two far away to head towards, but were seen none the less.

Here are the totals for our first trip of the 2014 season:
5 Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus)
1 Humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae)
170 Short beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis)
300 Wilson's storm petrels (Oceanites oceanicus)
200 Great shearwaters (Puffinus gravis)
20 Cory's shearwaters (Calonectris diomedia)
1 Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus)

Photos

Sunday July 06, 2014: We found them again!

Fin whales, Minke whales and offshore bottlenose dolphins!

It was another amazing trip and a continuation of our phenomenal 100% sighting success since last year! We found "the mother load" of whales about 18 nautical miles from the point. Our first whale was a beautiful minke whale, followed shortly thereafter by a mother/calf pair of fin whales. While observing these, we saw blows all around us- perhaps a total of 12 fin whales. We spent time with the pair, then headed to another fin whale followed the pair to form a trio. We then spent time with another cow/calf pair for a bit. During our movements to observe the whales, we were surprised by a pod of offshore bottlenose dolphins (20). They rode our bow, took off and returned time and again to the delight of everyone on board.

Totals:
12 Fin Whales
20 offshore Bottlenose dolphins
50 Wilson's Storm Petels
40 Great Shearwaters
5 Corey's Shearwaters
1 Sooty Shearwater
100+ Common terns

Photos

Interactive Map with Photos

Video

Sunday July 13, 2014: We found them yet again!

Fin whales, Minke Whales, Common dolphins, and more

We were only 8 miles off Montauk Point when Captain Carl spotted the first whale, a lone fin whale traveling SW. We followed it for a while and it proved to be a great introduction to a day of whales and dolphins.

Shortly afterward a pod of 20 short-beaked common dolphins streaked over to our vessel and spent some time bow riding and “porpoising ” alongside the Starship, to the delight of the passengers. The children aboard especially liked seeing the mothers and babies as the pod visited us several times over the course of a half hour.  We continued SE, seeing shearwaters and storm petrels, and stopped to watch the antics of a 4 foot long ocean sunfish alongside the boat.

As we made a long turn back to Montauk we found several other whales actively feeding. The three fin whales included a cow/calf pair and we stopped and observed them for some time. A smaller minke whale was also diving to feed on the scattered pockets of small fish below us. Another (or some of the earlier?) pod of common dolphins joined us too and there was a lot of action around the boat. Sadly our time was up and we headed back to Montauk to disembark a happy group of whale watchers.

Totals
4 Fin Whales
1 Minke Whale
1 Ocean Sunfish
30 Common Dolphins
3 Cory Shearwaters
3 Greater Shearwaters
20 Wilson Storm Petrels

Photos


Interactive map with photos

Sunday July 20, 2014:  EPIC TRIP on the Viking Starship!!

Fin whales, minke whales, bottlenose dolphins & ocean sunfish!

The day started with about 150 bottlenose dolphins just outside jetty and over towards Shagwong. We went offshore to find whales where they had been reported. Our first whales were mother/calf pair of fin whales, then a minke, then we started seeing blows everywhere! There were whales in every direction. We eventually were able to get up and photograph 15 fin whales including 4 calf's with their moms. 2 minke whales, and we also saw an ocean sunfish just before the rain got heavy. What an AMAZING trip!

Totals
15 Fin whales (with many others in the area)
2 Minke whales
150 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
1 Ocean sunfish
100 Wilson's storm petrels
15 Cory's Shearwaters
1 Great Shearwater
Photos
Interactive Map with Photos

Wednesday July 30, 2014:  Still at 100%

Bottlenose Dolphins, Loggerhead, Leatherbacks, Ocean Sunfish & More!

Our 100% Success at finding cetaceans continues. We found inshore bottlenose dolphins shortly after passing the Lighthouse. A group of 10, tthat joined with joined with 20 others. The group included lots of young dolphins swimming with their moms. We headed out further and found a young loggerhead sea turtle, Later we found flying fish, a hammerhead shark,  a Mola mola (Ocean Sunfish), and a small leatherback passed by us. We found no baleen whales, but had a good trip none the less.  WOW! We found another leatherback near the lighthouse and got great views of it feeding on jellyfish.

Totals
30 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
2 Leatherback turtles
1 Loggerhead sea turtle
1 Hammerhead shark
1 Ocean Sunfish
120 Wilson's storms petrels
50 Greater Shearwaters
10 Corey's Shearwaters!

Photos
Interactive Map with Photos

Sunday August 3, 2014:  Still at 100%

Humpback whale!

We decide to head west and then south towards some reported sightings. On our way west, we saw a few blows off about 2 miles away. As we turned toward the whale, we saw it do a full body breach - a beautiful sight! We stayed with that whale for some time. It was busy feeding at the bottom, with 5-7 minute down times. It fluked just a few times, but gave us some nice views anyway. After a while we decided to move on search for others. The ride was fun, kids were having a ball on the rolls and dips. All was fine, until the rain, which kept getting stronger as we searched. No more whales, but lots of happy and wet passengers.

Totals:
1 Humpback whale
40 Wilson's storm petrels
12 Cory's shearwaters
2 Great shearwaters
1 shark (unknown species)

Photos
Interactive Map with Photos

Wednesday August 6, 2014:  We did it again! Whales!!

Minke and fin whales

Our 100% Success at finding cetaceans continues. We started the day finding a very elusive minke whale- a real ''Stinky'' minke that dove and disappeared as we approached. We continued to search and were rewarded by finding a large fin whale south & east of Block Island. This whale provided us with great opportunities to see both right & left side, as well as its head.The 70 foot female fin whale was one we saw last year with a calf. This year she is was back again.

Totals
1 Minke Whale
1 Fin Whale
30 Wilson's Storm Petrels
7 Cory's Shearwaters
6 Red-necked Phalaropes

Photos
nteractive Map with Photos

Sunday August 10, 2014:  Yes!!! fin whales!!!

3 new fin whales

We headed east towards where we had seen whales on Wednesday and where colleagues had seen whales yesterday. As we headed a little over half way there we saw our first blows. A small fin whale was ahead of us- then a larger fin whale blow behind us! This was a mother/ calf pair. They eventually joined each other and surfaced near us when a third fin whale joined the pair. The 3 whales stayed together briefly then seperated. We were able to spend time with each of the 3 whales. As we headed back we encountered a hammerhead shark that gave us great views. It had a hook in its mouth, either it had been caught and released or broke free. In any event, it seemed to be doing okay.

Totals:

3 Fin Whales
1 Hammerhead shark
1 Ocean Sunfish
10 Wilson's Storm Petrels
50 Cory's Shearwaters

Photos
Interactive Map with Photos

Sunday August 17, 2014:    Another Spectacular Day!

Fin whales, Minke whales, Leatherback sea turtles and Common dolphins.

We started in fog but it cleared as we approached Montauk Lighthouse. We headed east towards where whales had been spotted yesterday. On the way we found 2 groups of common dolphins, one with 10 individuals, the other with 15. We also found three leatherback turtles on the way to the whales. We found two fin whales SE of Block Island. One of the two had propeller scars and had been seen by us 10 days prior, while the other had been seen by us last year just 12 miles SW of Montauk. These whales provided us with great looks & data. We eventually left them to see a massive aggregation of about 120 common dolphins.

Totals
2 Fin Whales
2 Minke Whales
145 Common Dolphins
3 Leatherback Sea Turtles
5 Wilson Storm Petrels
3 Cory's Shearwaters
1 Manx Shearwater


Photos
Interactive Map with Photos

Wednesday August 20, 2014:    Whales and dolphins!!!

8 Fin Whales, 2 Minke Whales, 20 Common Dolphins!

Today we had reports of fin whales far to the east and others closer to the west and south. We headed south and found a group of about 10 short-beaked common dolphins just after 11am. We stayed with them for a while and left in search of larger cetaceans. It took a few more hours but we eventually found the fin whales- first one, then a pair, then more and more until we encountered 8 fin whales and 1 minke whale. There was lots of food in the waters, hence the whales were busy feeding, as were a group of about 10-12 common dolphins. A long day, but successful! We are still at 100% success!

Totals:

8 fin whales
2 minke whales
20 short-beaked common dolphins
1 unidentified sea turtle
80 Cory's shearwaters
5 Great shearwaters
1 Parasitic jaeger
2 Wilson's storm petrels.


Photos
Interactive Map with Photos

Sunday August 24, 2014:    What an amazing trip!

12 Fin Whales and 3 Minke Whales

It took a while to get to the whale grounds, but it was well worth the wait! Fin whales and minkes were everywhere. We saw individual fin whales, pairs and trios all feeding (along with minkes) on massive quantities of prey. The fin whales were very active, engaged in surface lunges, rolling over and circle feeding. At points, we were surrounded by whales. As we headed home, we encountered one more pair of fin whales. One of the pair dove and lifted its fluke- a behavior rarely seen and we were lucky enough to see and photograph it!

Totals:

12 Fin Whales
3 Minke Whales
20 Cory's shearwaters
3 Great shearwaters
5 Wilson's storm petrels


Photos
Interactive Map with Photos

Wednesday August 27, 2014: A HUGE sucess

3 Fin Whales

We departed Montauk and travelled 20 miles offshore. Immediately about 2000 feet off the lighthouse we spotted juvenile false albacore tuna leaping on bait.

Once we got further offshore, into the remnants of the warm-core eddies of the Gulf Stream, it didn't take long to see our first blow. As we got closer we found two massive adult Finback Whales and one juvenile. We rode along side as they moved east for a good 30 minutes observing what looked like two animals that were as long as the Starship itself!! The whales were lit up in the blue water and the picture opportunity was just outstanding.

On the ride home we briefly saw a Mola mola and some more bird life

Total
3 fin whales
10 Cory's shearwaters
14 Great shearwaters
6 Wilson's Storm Petrels
1 Mola mola,
several flying fish

Photos coming soon

Monday September 1, 2014

Our 2014 Whale watching season ended today. We were unable to find any whales or dolphins today for the first time in 30 consecutive local trips since July 29, 2012. Ah well. This season, like the last, was spectacular. Our local trips brought us in contact wth fin whales, minke whales, humpback whales, short-beaked common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins (inshore and offshore types), leatherback turtles, loggerhead turtles, and Kemp's ridley turtles.


Totals
1 Great shearwater
6 Wilson's Storm Petrels





Viking Fleet
462 West Lake Drive
Montauk, NY 11954
PHONE: (631) 668-5700
FAX: (631) 668-5788

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