Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island
Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island
Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island
Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island
Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island
Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island

Local Whale Watching 2021

With Viking Fleet of Montauk, NY

By: A. H. Kopelman, Ph.D.


Local Whale Watching 2021

2021 CRESLI/Viking Fleet whale watching

Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays 2:00-7:00 PMJune 26, 2021 through September 05, 2021.

  • 2021 - 90%% SUCCESS (9 OUT OF 10 TRIPS); (see our 2021 sightings blog below)

  • 96.92% SUCCESS SINCE JULY 2017 (63 OUT OF 65 TRIPS)!

  • SINCE 2009 - 93.64% SUCCESS RATE IN FINDING CETACEANS (162 OUT OF 173 TRIPS)

Join the crew with over 30 years of whale watching experience. Come away with great memories, great photos and videos, and an education about whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and marine life that is second-to-none.

Please note that the Viking Fleet supports CRESLI's work through in-kind donations of providing the vessel and vessel crew, and some funds per trip. We are eternally grateful to the Viking Fleet for our decades of collaboration

  • The Viking Fleet and CRESLI are offering special family friendly marine cruises focusing on the sights of the ocean! Enjoy a day on the water with your family looking for whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sea birds and sunfish. Along the way you can view the Montauk lighthouse and all the landmarks of the east end.
  • A qualified naturalist / marine biologist will narrate the tour and answer all of your questions!
  • The Viking boats are equipped with clean restrooms, comfortable seating and full galleys onboard. We recommend reservations. You can either do so by phone (631-668-5700) or https://vikingfleet.com/activities/whale-watching/
  • The trips will depart the dock at 2:00 PM and return at 7:00 PM


Whale Watch tickets: https://vikingfleet.com/activities/whale-watching/

The fare for these trips is $80 for adults, $50 for children 5-12y/o, FREE for Children under 5y/o


Whether our trips take place are dependent upon weather and sea conditions. Be sure to check the Marine Forecast for the waters around Montauk 

 


2021 CRESLI/Viking Fleet Whale Watch Naturalist's Sightings Reports will be available shortly after each trip.


 CRESLI 2021 Whale Watch Sighting Report Blog

June 26, 2021

July 14, 2021 CANCELED

August 1, 2021

August 21, 2021

June 27, 2021

July 17, 2021

August 4, 2021

August 22, 201

June 30, 2021

July 18, 2021 CANCELED

August 7, 2021

August 25, 2021

July 3, 2021 CANCELED

July 21, 2021

August 8, 2021

August 28, 2021

July 4, 2021

July 24, 2021

August 11, 2021

August 29, 2021

July 7, 2021

July 25, 2021 CANCELED

August 14, 2021

September 1, 2021

July 10, 2021

July 28, 2021

August 15, 2021

September 4, 2021

July 11, 2021

July 31, 2021

August 18, 2021

September 5, 2021

Saturday June 26, 2021

Brief encounter with 20 Inshore bottlenose dolphins and good variety of pelagic birds

The Viking Fleet and CRESLI began our 25th consecutive season of whale watching trips slowly, i.e., finding dolphins. While we were successful in finding cetaceans (the group of animals that include whales, dolphins, and porpoises), our encounter with 20 inshore bottlenose dolphins was brief. We saw them crossing our bow about 500 yards away, but never really got good views of photographs.  The dolphins seemed to be intent on feeding and quickly moved away.  While we tried to find them again, we were unsuccessful.

The pelagic bird life was quite good, seeing 5 different species including 30 Cory’s shearwaters, 8 Great shearwaters, 1 Sooty shearwater, 1 Manx shearwater, and around 50 Wilson storm petrels

A good way start to the 2021 season. We hope to find more tomorrow

  • 20 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 50 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 8 Great shearwaters
  • 30 Cory's shearwaters
  • 1 Sooty shearwater
  • 1 Manx shearwater

Photos from 6/26 and 27 available to view and purchase

 

Sunday June 27, 2021

Humpback and another day with a good variety of pelagic birds

We left the dock at Montauk to clearing skies and fair weather for the second trip of the season.  Today the Viking Starship rounded Montauk Point and cruised southeast.  Over the next few hours we covered a lot of ocean searching for whales.  We observed good numbers and a variety of seabirds along our trip.  Eventually we were excited to start seeing isolated "blows" in the distance.  We proceeded to close with the whale but it was not making many visible blows and was moving, not feeding in one place.  We continued to search heading closer to Long Island and saw a few blows, probably indicating more than one whale in the vicinity.  At one point we saw two blows close together, one larger and one smaller, so perhaps a cow-calf pair.  
We were able to get closer to a Humpback whale who was taking a series of three surface breaths and then diving for about 10 minutes, probably feeding on the baitfish in the area.  Towards the end of our day we got close enough to see it and take a useful photograph of its fluke, allowing us to identify our 1st humpback of the 2021 season.  It was whale NYC0005 (part of the catalog of our research partners at Gotham Whale in the western NY Bight). The last time we'd seen NYC0005 was in August 2018 just 1.5 nautical miles  from yesterday's spot.

  • 1 humpback whale
  • 5 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 20 Great shearwaters
  • 14 Cory's shearwaters
  • 3 Sooty shearwaters

Photos from 6/26 and 27 available to view and purchase

Wednesday June 30, 2021

Finback whale!

We left the dock at Montauk to look for whales and escape the heat.  Once we got into water with sea surface temperatures in the 63-640F, we relished the cool air. The winds were as predicted, SW at 15-20 knots, the seas were as predicted also at 3-4 feet. We headed SW 8 for nautical miles and saw few birds and no cetaceans. We then headed due east and 3 nautical miles later, a whale blows right next to us. It was a faint blow, but a blow none-the-less. This was our first encounter with what eventually was identified as young finback whale ~45' long.  We slowly followed this deep diving, 5-8 minute diving whale for 5 nautical miles, the whale was feeding near the bottom (120') on dense prey patches.  The sea conditions and the speed of this whale made it nearly impossible to clearly identify (although we believe it to be a fin whale) until it steeply surfaced and we could see the unique fin whale characteristics: white right lower jar, blaze, eye stripe, chevron. This whale had distinctive killer whale raking scars on its dorsal fin, and entanglement scars across its back.

What an amazing sight! What a special day! Our 168th identifiable fin whale since 2009!

  • 1 finback whale
  • 2 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 1 Great shearwaters
  • 3 Cory's shearwaters

Photos from 6/30/2021 available to view and purchase

and/or view the slideshow below

Sunday July 4, 2021

Pelagic birds – yes! Cetaceans – no!

After 31 consecutive successful trips since July 17, 2019 and for only the 11th time since 2009, we were unable to find a cetacean (whale, dolphin, or porpoise.  The conditions were excellent, with unlimited visibility, clear skies, cool temperatures (sea surface temperatures from 52.850F to 67.730F). We traveled over 40nm and encountered pelagic birds often, we saw no whales.  Their prey has begun to show up abundantly, in some areas from the surface to the bottom.  We will find them again

  •  71 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
  • 23 Cory’s Shearwaters
  • 11 Great Shearwaters
  • 1 Northern Gannet (immature)
  • 2 black terns (seen near shore and ID’d by birders) 

Wednesday July 7, 2021

We’re back at it again: Humpback and short-beaked common dolphins!

It was the perfect day to get on the water, escape the heat, and look for whales and dolphins. The visibility was good, as were the seas and we headed out to the SSE. It was an hour before we found our first blows from a humpback whale.  We traveled with this whale as it searched for food over the next 75 minutes and 2 nautical miles, sometimes being down for 7-8 minutes. This was a young humpback and one we’d not seen before, our 139th different humpback off Montauk since 2009. On our way back, we encountered a rambunctious pod of 30 short-beaked common dolphins

  •  1 Humpback whale
  • 30 Short-beaked common dolphins
  • 1 Thresher shark
  • 15 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
  • 40 Cory’s Shearwaters
  • 20 Great Shearwaters

Photos from 7/7/2021 available to view and purchase

and/or view the slideshow below

Saturday July 10, 2021

An Awesome Day of Whales and Dolphins!

We left Montauk today with overcast skies, heading southeast to where we had previously seen whales.  As soon as we passed Montauk Point, we had reports of dolphins close inshore, south of the point.  We headed over and soon came upon a pod of about 10 bottlenose dolphins.
After some time with these dolphins, we continued southeast.  We had only traveled about 4 miles before we started to see “blows”.  We came up to a group of 6 humpback whales. They remained in this one area actively feeding.  We got some great looks at both the mature and a younger, small humpback (who once swam under the boat and surfaced only 30 feet away).  
 
The whales were making short dives to feed on the abundant bands of fish at the bottom and then on some fish at the surface.  The dolphins from earlier arrived, were joined by another pod of bottlenose, and rapidly attacked the surface schools of fish, churning the water white.  Several of the dolphins were swimming very close to a few of the whales, perhaps opportunistically catching fish fleeing from the feeding humpbacks.   We stayed with these whales for a few hours, with passengers getting good looks of the whales feeding all around the vessel and were able to take some good ID photos for the database.  One adult humpback had been struck by a large propeller and had extensive scars to show for it.
 
Being so close to Montauk some of the photographers aboard managed photos of whales with the lighthouse in the background for some memorable images.

  •  6 Humpback whales
  • 40 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 15 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
  • 4 Cory’s Shearwaters

Photos from 7/10/21 available to view and purchase

and/or view the slideshow below

Sunday July 11, 2021

Another Awesome Day of Whales and Dolphins!

We left Montauk today with unlimited visibility and headed to where we had seen whales on Saturday.  As soon as we passed Montauk Point, we looked for dolphins and continued heading southeast.  Our first blows were from a whale seen on Saturday.  This poor whale is identifiable because of a massive set of propeller scars on its right side and its dorsal fin was mostly gone.  This is a young whale that had been seen in the NY harbor area and catalogued as NYC0224 by our colleagues at Gotham Whale. It was last seen around NYC on 6/25. We stayed with this whale for a while and headed to a second whale in the area. We ultimately met and photographed 4 humpbacks on this trip.  They were busy feeding and looking for food, often times coming up right next to us to check us out.  We are never in gear when waiting for whales to surface and presented no threats. After a few hours with the whales, it was time to head back.  On our way in we saw a groups of about 40 bottlenose dolphins and we stayed with them for a bit before proceeded back. By the way, we did have to retrieve many balloons on this trip, please never release helium filled balloons!

  •  4 Humpback whales
  • 40 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 32 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
  • 2 Cory’s Shearwaters
  • 20 Great Shearwaters
  • 1 Manx Shearwater
  • 1 Sooty Shearwater

Photos from 7/11/21 available to view and purchase

and/or view the slideshow below

Saturday July 17, 2021

7 Hammerhead sharks, a tail throwing/slapping humpback, bottlenose dolphins, and too many balloons!

We headed out to look for whales and once again to escape from the heat. The visibility was 4 miles at first, but continued to open up as we headed south for a while, then east and after 2 hours from the dock we found our 1st surprise - a large hammerhead shark (unsure of which species). Every direction we moved brought us new hammerhead sharks. Over 0.6 nautical miles, we encountered 7 different hammerheads.  That's a record for us. As we continued on, we saw little,  and picked up too many balloons (c'mon folks it's time to stop), but never stopped looking. At around 6 PM we saw a blow in the distance, and soon smelled the putrid, fetid, foul odor of a humpback with a possible lung infection (whale flu, as termed by Dr. Paul Forestell and others). The whale (NYC0084) was tail-throwing and tail-slapping (behaviors often used for non-vocal communication). We were in 130' of water, but the prey were only 35' down, so this whale did some low-fluking dives in search of food. We eventually had to leave, just as a small pod of about 20 bottlenose dolphins paid us a brief visit.  We headed in through pea soup fog and returned late, but happy.

  •  1 Humpback whale
  • 20 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 7 hammerhead sharks
  • 12 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
  • 6 Cory’s Shearwaters
  • 4 Great shearwaters
  • 1 Manx shearwater
  • 6 phalaropes (unsure of species)

Photos from 7/17/21 available to view and purchase

and/or view the slideshow below

Wednesday July 21, 2021

Another double species day! Humpbacks and minke whales!

We headed out to excellent conditions with nearly unlimited visibility,2-3 foot seas,and reports of whales and dolphins nearby. With the predicted stormy conditions to occur within a few hours, we headed west and stayed nearer to shore than on previous trips. Spoiler alert - the predicted severe weather passed to our south.  We found 2 humpbacks and a minke over a 2 nautical mile stretch.  Both were young and active. One was tail throwing, and later breached right next to us.  The 2nd whale was resting (logging) quite often, interspersed with dives and close approaches. Our 1st humpback showed up again and we watched it follow bunker (Atlantic menhaden) and lunge feed though large piles of bunker.

  •  2 Humpback whales
  • 1 minke whale
  • 5 Wilson’s Storm Petrels

Photos from 7/21/21 available to view and purchase

and/or view the slideshow below

Saturday July 24, 2021

Minke whale, bunker, and Ocean sunfish!

Beautiful day to be out on the water today, calm seas of 1 – 2 feet, unlimited visibility and water temperature between 70 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit.  While traveling west along the coast of Montauk we came upon a large school of bunker (Atlantic Menhaden).  Hoping to find some cetaceans looking for a nice meal but not luck.  Traveling away from the coast, we found an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) which swam directly next to the boat giving everyone onboard a great view.  Traveling further away from shore a Minke whale gave us three quick views before disappearing out of sight

  • 1 minke whale
  • 9 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
  • 2 Cory's shearwaters

Photos from 7/24/21 available to view and purchase,

and/or view the slideshow below

Wednesday July 28, 2021

A special day!! 8 humpback whales,1 minke whale, 120 bottlenose dolphins!!


Our best day of the 2021 season so far started with many whale reports. good visibility and good seas. Within 35 minutes of Montauk Lighthouse we were with the first of 8 humpback whales. We encountered just about every humpback behavior we could think of including: breaching, flipper-slapping, tail-slapping, tail throwing, low fluking dives, high fluking dives, logging. Here, we also found 120 inshore bottlenose dolphins (3 groups of 40) and 1 minke whale. We often had whales on every side of the vessel. All of this in a 3.5 square mile area

8 humpback whales
1 minke whale
120 inshore bottlenose dolphin
1 Wilson's storm petrel
1 Northern Gannet

Photos soon

 



  •  CRESLI 2020 Whale Watch Sighting Report Blog

Saturday July 18, 2020

4 humpback whales and massive schools of Atlantic menhaden (bunker).

Great way to start the season!

The Viking Fleet and CRESLI began our 24th consecutive season of whale watching trips just where we left off, i.e., finding whales. We had reports of whales that morning (seen from shore by our naturalist, Dr. Artie Kopelman, and heard in the fog aboard the Viking Starship that morning by the intrepid Viking Fleet mate, Joey Ferguson). We also had reports of dolphins west of town. Out we headed and within a short while we were past Montauk Light looking for cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises). Shortly thereafter a fog bank rolled in and we continued on and listened for blows. Eventually the fog lifted and we found ourselves in the midst of many massive schools of bunker. Here we encountered feeding humpback whales. Two juveniles were photographed and we had brief glimpses of 2 others.

A wonderful start to the 2020 season.

  • 4 Humpback whales
  • 1 unidentified sea turtle
  • 4 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 16 Sanderlings
  • 20 Great Black-backed gulls
  • 2 Double-crested Cormorants

 

PHOTOS from 7/18/2020 

 

Saturday July 25, 2020

3 humpback whales, 1 minke whale and more

Our 2nd trip of the 2020 season didn't let us down. We had reports of whales from several places and began our trip with a great plan. With excellent visibility and conditions, we found our first whale within 40 minutes from passing Montauk Light, a humpback. This whale was busy searching for food 100' down and would rise to the surface after a few minutes, blow 5-6 times and dive. We stayed with the whale until it tail slapped and we decided to head further. We headed ENE towards and found our 2nd whale about 1 hour later.  We'd seen it from ~1.5 miles away and when we got near the area,  it popped up just under our bowsprit. Luckily we were almost at idle speed. A minke and a thrird humpback joined us shortly thereafter.  This last whale had significant Orca raking scars on its dorsal fin and flukes. We encountered other species duringour travels including 3 Ocean Sunfish, 1 jumping White Marlin, about 40 Wilson's Storm Peterels, and about 40 Great Shearwaters

  • 3 Humpback whales
  • 1 Minke whale
  • 3 Ocean sunfish
  • 1 white marlin
  • 40 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 40 Great shearwaters

 

PHOTOS from 7/25/2020

Saturday August 01, 2020

4 humpback whales - 18 and 10 consecutive breaches at the end of our trip! Nice way to end the afternoon.

Our 3rd trip of the 2020 season was one for the books. Again, we had reports of whales from several places and began our trip with a great plan to survey an area not far from Gurney's. Excellent visibility and conditions allowed us to see blows from really far. Our first stop was ~6nm (nautical miles) south of the Lighthouse, where we had seen blows from about 1.5 nm away.  Those whales were gone, so we headed west (2 nm) and found the first of 2 whales, one seen on the 7/18/2020 trip (MTK.2020.07.18-01). Our 2nd whale was one we had seen on the 7/25/2020 trip (MTK.2020.07.25-02). We also encountered an aggregation of about 100 Western North Atlantic Northern Migratory Coastal Stock (AKA inshore) bottlenose dolphins.

We had the priviledge of staying with these whales for over 2 hours, watching them dive for food at the sea floor, rising up 3-7 minutes later and resuming their dives.  Both whales we juveniles and both had signs of previous entanglements. One whale had a tuna lure hooked into the left splashguard region (side of the blow hole). We were ready to leave and the whales began breaching simultaneously, each one on each side of the vessel.  We stayed with MTK.2020.07.25-02 and it breached 18 times in 8 minutes, while MTK.2020.07.18-01 breached 10 times. Wow! The tubercles on the leading edge of a humpback's long pectoral flippers provide hydrodynamic lift and allow these whales to rise through the water column at steep angles without stalling, hence reducing the energy needed to breach. 

  • 4 Humpback whales
  • 100 Western North Atlantic Northern Migratory Coastal Stock (AKA inshore) bottlenose dolphins 

PHOTOS from 8/01/2020 trip 

 

Saturday August 08, 2020

4 humpback whales - and 2 minkes.

Within 30 minutes of passing Montauk Lighthouse and within 10 minutes of the crew “on-station” to look in earnest for whales, we saw our first blows. Our 1st humpback was one we had seen last week as well about 8 nm (nautical miles) to the SSW and only about 4 nm from Montauk Lighthouse. This was the first of our 4 humpbacks and 2 minke whales of the day. Our 2nd humpback was 2 miles away at first and joined the other whale in feeding at depth on bunker. We saw massive bunker pods at the surface, but they were only the upper boundaries of giant 80’ thick plumes of bunker. Our minke whales joined in briefly. A while later, several miles away, we found our last 2 humpbacks

  • 4 Humpback whales
  • 2 Minke whales
  • 1 unidentified sea turtle
  • 4 Laughing Gulls
  • 2 ring-billed Gulls
  • 8 Herring Gulls
  • 6 common terns
  • 11 Cory’s Shearwaters
  • 12 Great Shearwaters

Bird counts thanks to David Chernack

PHOTOS from 8/08/2020 trip

Wednesday August 12, 2020

3 Humpbacks and about 300 NW Atlantic Norther Migratory Common Bottlenose dolphins

WOW what a trip!

We had reports of whales around they Midway Buoy and within an hour we found out fist whale, a humpback we hadn’t seen before. A short while after staying with this whale, we came upon our first groups of NW Atlantic Norther Migratory (AKA “In-shore”) Common Bottlenose dolphins. At least 3 groups interacting and seemingly driving massive groups of prey.  The groups dolphins would work together, with some driving forward and others turning to produce vortex-like field which formed a large circular slick.  The dolphins would converge and chaos would occur. Our second groups of dolphins, over 180 of them joined in the fray. Were they feeding? We never saw them with prey in their mouths? We they mating? This we did see.  So about 300 dolphins did this for nearly 2 hours.

Then we found our second humpback, another new one for us. It was breaching, followed by the typical flipper slapping. 20 minutes and a total of 18 breaches, interspersed with flipper slapping bouts. We had to head back to the dock and passed another humpback on the way in  but couldn’t stop.  Well we hope to see it again.

  • 3 humpbacks
  • 300 300 NW Atlantic Norther Migratory Common Bottlenose dolphins
  • 2 Manx Shearwaters
  • 10 Great Shearwaters
  • 10 Cory’s Shearwaters
  • 1 confirmed Scopoli’s Shearwater

PHOTOS from the 8/12/2020 trip

Wednesday August 19, 2020

Humpbacks and more Common Bottlenose dolphins

A special day for many reasons

As usual, we were headed to where we had seen whales on our previous trip. We were lucky enough to encounter a very special whale, Nile’s 2016 calf.

Three weeks ago this 4 year-old calf was found severely entangled in 3900 pounds of cable and line about 10 miles out of New York Harbor. He had just enough slack to allow him to surface in breath. It took the disentanglement teams three days to get him out. Our sighting of this juvenile whale with the first since he was disentangled. The disentanglement was a joint effort of many institutions, they’ve been notified of our sighting and are elated! He is scarred severely but is feeding and seems to be moving quite well we have our fingers crossed. By the way, we also saw him in 2018. Read about his disentanglement here

Other humpback whales and minke whales were seen, but only three humpbacks were photographed on this trip including NYC0085 (also seen last year) and a new whale we call MTK.2020.08.19-04.

As in last trip, we also encountered inshore bottlenose dolphins, but this time in small groups. Maybe a total of 120 that were working to catch prey and we saw mating too. It was a special day and we hope for the best for Nile’s 2016 calf.

  • 5 humpbacks
  • 1 minke
  • 100-120 NW Atlantic Norther Migratory Common Bottlenose dolphins
  • 2 Manx Shearwaters
  • ~10 Great Shearwaters
  • ~13 Cory’s Shearwaters

PHOTOS from the 8/19/2020 trip

 

Saturday August 22, 2020

5 Humpbacks and about 60 Common Bottlenose dolphins

Today's trip couldn't have started out better, with a humpback whale in Block Island Sound before we even made it to the ocean! This was a small humpback, about 24 feet (7.3 meters), probably less than 1 year old, by itself about 1 nautical mile NNW of Montauk Point. We stayed with this whale for a short while and then headed out to find others.

It wasn't long before we found Nile’s 2016 calf again. We stayed with this 4 year old malefor some time and were able to get additional photos documenting his injuries. As we did a few days ago, we shared these photos with the Center for Coastal Studies Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) personnel and others and are glad to hear that his wounds are healing well.

4 other humpback whales and 1 minke whale were seen.  As in last trip, we also encountered inshore bottlenose dolphins, but this time in even smaller groups.

  • 5 humpbacks
  • 1 minke
  • 60 NW Atlantic Norther Migratory Common Bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 Sooty Shearwater 
  • 4 Great Shearwaters
  • 6 Cory’s Shearwaters
  • 12 Laughing Gulls
  • 24 Great Blackback Gulls
  • 20 Common Terns
  • 1 Forster's Tern
  • 12 Double-crested Cormorants
  • 1 Great Egret
  • 2 Chimney Swifts
  • 1 American Redstart
    • Bird count by Patrician Aitken

PHOTOS from the 8/22/2020 trip

 

Wednesday August 26, 2020

Whales and dolphins! 40 minutes of inverted lob-tailing by 1 humpback 

A few hours before our trip, Dr. Artie Kopelman (CRESLI president and senior scientist/naturalist) observe several humpbacks from shore at the western end of Montauk. High winds from the NNW helped us to decide to head west to look for whales. Right near Montauk Point we encountered 2 whales, a minke and a humpback. The humpback was diving for 9 minutes at a stretch, and the minke was almost impossible to see . After 3 minutes with these whale, we continued westward to find a small group of bottlenose dolphins. We ultimately turned to have the wind behind, and shortly later, we found a humpback we'd see on 8/19/2020 and 8/18/2019, namely NYC0084. In 2019, it was breaching, today (8/25/2020), it was lob-tailing for at least 40 minutes, almost non-stop. 

Lob-tailing, breaching, flipper slapping are incredible to see and hear. These behaviors use up lots of energy. Why do humpbacks exhibit these behaviors? Well, they serve many purposes, from helping to remove epibionts ("hitch-hiking organisms living on the skin), to non-vocal communication. Cetaceans are dependent upon sound for communication of long and short distances. This whale might have been signaling others about the massive quantities of prey in the water column.  Let's hope so.

  • 2 humpbacks
  • 1 minke
  • 15 NW Atlantic Norther Migratory (AKA inshore) Common bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 Great Shearwater
  • 1 Sooty Shearwater
  • 2 Cory's Shearwaters

PHOTOS from the 8/26/2020 trip

 

Wednesday September 2, 2020

Breaching, lob-tailing, flipper slapping humpback and more!

Our 9th trip of 2020 was difficult at first, but ultimately it did not disappoint. Just as in the past few trips, a small humpback would blow and dive, with dive times over 10 minutes long. We stayed with this whale and a few inshore bottlenose dolphins but decided to head off and search elsewhere. It took a bit but just before 4PM in the distance (2 nautical miles) we saw a humpback lob-tailing (slamming its tail on the water) over and over again. We reached it and it continued lob-tailing, the whale eventually rolling onto its back and began flipper slapping, also repeatedly. In a short while, it began to breach repeatedly, interspersed with flipper slapping and logging (resting). Wow, what a wonderfully array of humpback behaviors to see. This whale in MTK.2019.07.31-01, a whale we saw on 7/31/19 1.34 nm ESE of where we saw it today.

  • 2 humpbacks
  • 15 NW Atlantic Norther Migratory (AKA inshore) Common bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 Great Shearwater

PHOTOS from the 9/02/2020 

 

Saturday September 5, 2020

Another amazing trip with humpbacks breaches and peduncle (tail) throws!

It was another great day of whale watching. Calms seas greeted us as we headed out past the Montauk Lighthouse.  Soon after, we came upon a small humpback giving use may views as it was feeding close to shore as there were Atlantic Menhaden (commonly called bunker) everywhere.  After everyone had plenty of views and pictures of this whale we headed south in search of more whales.  We came across our second humpback of the day giving us some blows and not much else but we could see another humpback off in the distant putting on quite a show with lots of splashing.  As we got closer, we had great views of our third humpback of the day with full-body breaching and lots of peduncle throws.  Memory cards and cellphone certainly were filled up today.

  • 3 humpbacks
  • 1 Great Shearwater

PHOTOS from the 9/05/2020 trip

 

Sunday September 6, 2020

Oh my, 60 bottlenose dolphins and 8 humpbacks in al!

It was a little bouncy as we headed out in search of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises). We headed directly to where we had seen the whales yesterday, but we couldn't find them at first and we headed to another area.  It took some time, but we decided to head NNE and Captain David Marmeno found a whale about 2.3 nautical miles (nm) from where yesterday's whales were. Once we found our first whale, we began seeing MANY more. We encountered one of Saturday's whales and stayed with and photographed 3 others within 1.1 square miles. We also encountered multiple groups of inshore bottlenose dolphins, about 60 individuals in all. On our way back to Montauk, we kept seeing more blows from 5 more whales within 1 nm in every direction but none directly in front of us. We wish we had more time.  We will try again on Saturday September 12,2020 

  • 8 humpbacks (3 were photographed, 5 others nearby just out of range)
  • 60 NW Atlantic Norther Migratory (AKA inshore) Common bottlenose dolphins
  • 2 Cory's Shearwaters
  • 1 Great Shearwater

PHOTOS from the 9/06/2020 trip

 

Sunday September 13, 2020

Humpbacks, dolphins, and shearwaters! Oh my!

Our last 2020 trip continued our perfect season (100% success). Once again, our first humpback was a very small and elusive one, surfacing for a single blow and submerging for 9-11 minutes. We saw it fluke, but were never able to get photos of this whale. We headed on our way and encountered about 100 inshore bottlenose dolphins. Heading further east, we found our next whale, a juvenile humpback we'd seen back on 7/25/2020. We met up with another group of about 45 inshore bottlenose dolphins before coming across another humpback, one we'd originally seen on 7/31/2019, and again on 9/2/2020. The prey items in the water column were often very dense and either extended throughout the water, or hung to the bottom.  We saw more shearwaters than we'd seen in a while, often circling above the surfacing whales.

  • 3 humpbacks
  • 145 NW Atlantic Norther Migratory (AKA inshore) Common bottlenose dolphins
  • 12 Cory's Shearwaters
  • 3 Great Shearwaters
  • 1 Sooty Shearwater

PHOTOS from the 9/13/2020 

 

Purchase tickets here https://vikingfleet.com/activities/whale-watching/


 

CRESLI /Viking Fleet Montauk Sighting reports from 2013-2019  

Best CRESLI /Viking Fleet Montauk Whale Watch photos and videos from 2012-2019 

All CRESLI /Viking Fleet Montauk photos and videos from 2012-2020.


Humpback whale  - Unknown 2018-01

CRESLI is a non-profit organization as defined in section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All Contributions are deductible to the fullest extent of the law. A copy of the last financial report filed with the Department of State may be obtained by writing to NYS Dept. of State, Office of Charities Registration, Albany, NY 12231