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 Montauk Whale Watching 2024

Our 28th year with Viking Fleet of Montauk, NY

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


Local Montauk Whale Watching 2024

The Viking Fleet and CRESLI announce our 2024 Whale Watching Schedule

We will sail 4 days per week for most of the summer!

  • Sundays and Wednesdays on the Viking Starship from 2-7 PM from June 30 through September 18, 2024!
  • Mondays and Fridays on the Vikling Star from 10 AM-4 PM, from July 1 through September 2, 2024
    • The fare for these trips is $85 for adults, $55 for children 5-12y/o, FREE for Children 4 and under

 


2023 CRESLI/Viking Fleet whale watching on the 140' Viking Starship is over 

We sailed Sundays and Wednesdays through September 17, 2023

2023 TRIPS: 100% SUCCESS FINDING CETACEANS (whales and dolphins). See our 2023 Naturalist Blog below

SINCE 2009 - 96% SUCCESS RATE IN FINDING CETACEANS (see our 2022 and prior whale watch sightings blog)


Join the crew with over 37 years of whale watching experience AND professors/scientists as trip leaders. 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


Meet the CRESLI naturalists/educators


Trio of cooperative feeding humpback whales filteringOver 9,400 photos/videos and photo-based products from our whale watching trips are available to purchase. 

Each purchase helps support our work

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.
  • Our qualified naturalists/marine biologists will narrate the tour and answer all of your questions!
  • The trips will depart the dock at 2:00 PM and return at 7:00 PM
  • 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 via the link below

Ticketshttps://vikingfleet.com/activities/whale-watching/ The fare for these trips is $85 for adults, $55 for children 5-12y/o, FREE for Children 4 and under


Whether our trips take place are dependent upon weather and sea conditions.

Be sure to check the Marine Forecast for the waters around Montauk 


Read the trip sightings reports from previous years 

Best of the 2023 CRESLI Whale Watch Season" photos and videos. 

HELP SUPPORT OUR WORK: purchase images/prints/artwork


Diving humpback pair, 8/2/23 (AHK_5757) from CRESLI_ Inc. on Vimeo.

Associated pair of humpback whales (Bombay on left and Snowslide on right) seen on our 8/2/23 whale watch


July 02, 2023 August 13, 2023
July 05, 2023 August 16, 2023
July 09, 2023 August 20, 2023
July 12, 2023 August 23, 2023
July 19, 2023 August 27, 2023
July 23, 2023 August 30, 2023
July 26, 2023 September 3, 2023
July 30, 2023  September 6, 2023
August 2, 2023 September 10, 2023
August 6, 2023 September 17, 2023

Sunday July 2, 2023

2 species of dolphins and tons of pelagic birds! 

The Viking Fleet and CRESLI began our 28th consecutive season of whale watching trips on a windy and bouncy day. We had reports of whales and dolphins in the area. Shortly after passing Montauk Light we found our first group of about 60 bottlenose dolphins and stayed with them for a while. We headed further east to look for whales, then south, then west, then north. We found a small group of short-beaked common dolphins that briefly rode our bow wake. Eventually we found another 60 bottlenose traveling at incredible speed past us heading to where we’d soon tons of bait at the thermocline. Hundreds of shearwaters and storm petrels close to Montauk. What a way to start!!

  • 120 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 10 short-beaked common dolphins
  • 82 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 490 Great shearwaters
  • 2 Manx shearwaters
  • 2 Sooty shearwaters

Photos to view and/or purchase to help support our work

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Long trip - but we found our 1st baleen whale!

Our second whale watch of the 2023 season is in the books! Before leaving the dock, passengers were treated to sightings of two gray seals feeding in the harbor. Once departed, we swapped out the heat of land in exchange for cool, offshore breezes as we searched for more marine mammals. Our first encounter was with several small groups of inshore bottlenose dolphins, including a few mother/calf pairs. We watched as the dolphins fed, chasing their prey in circular patterns and at one point, nearly surrounding our vessel. After spending time with them, we went off in search of larger cetaceans, stopping a few times along the way to observe additional small groups of bottlenose dolphins. While encountering another mom/calf dolphin pair, a blow was spotted far off in the distance. We traveled toward the area, coming upon a juvenile humpback whale which was searching for and/or feeding on bait detected along the bottom. After enjoying a few surface intervals and dives, it was time to return to port, accompanied by numerous shearwaters and an additional dolphin sighting along the way. We got back late, but nobody complained!
We're just getting started! We sail every Sunday and Wednesday this summer. Book your trip with us today.

  • 2 gray seals
  • 80-100 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 humpback whale
  • ~80 Cory's shearwaters
  • 4 Manx shearwaters
  • ~170 Great shearwaters
  • 2 possible Sooty shearwaters
  • 15 Wilson storm petrels

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Fourth cetacean species in only three trips!

Today’s whale watch was an exercise in patience. Reports of bottlenose dolphins brought us southwest in search of these dynamic cetaceans. Despite abundant prey just below the surface for much of our transit, no dolphins were found. We passed through numerous patches of sargassum, hoping to spot a turtle or two, but no turtles were found. Occasional sightings of Great shearwaters entertained us while searching for life at the surface. We headed into deeper water, keeping dry from the soaking rains pounding the mainland. At last, a blow and fin were spotted and investigated, revealing a fin whale, our fourth cetacean species in only our third trip of the season! The fin whale appeared to be feeding, spending short intervals underwater and surfacing around our vessel. While watching this whale, a second whale appeared, presumably a second, smaller fin whale, although only brief glimpses were granted. Unfortunately, already running late, we needed to transit back to the dock and leave these two behind. Passengers were happy to have spent time with the whales, a first experience for many on board! Every trip is different and we never know what we will see (or when) and this trip was a perfect example of that.

We sail every Sunday and Wednesday through early September. Book your trip with us today!

  • 2 Fin whales
  • 140-180 Great shearwaters
  • 1 Cory’s shearwater
  • 2 Sooty shearwaters
  • 5-8 Wilson storm petrels

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints,artwork to help support our work

Wednesday, July 12, 2023 

What a day at sea!

We always begin each cruise by reminding passengers that we are sailing into the natural environment and have no idea what we will see or when. This trip was definitely a testament to that! We traded in the heat and haze of land for cool, ocean breezes traveling approximately 14 miles offshore in search of cetaceans. Visibility improved tremendously and conditions were highly favorable for spotting life at the surface. Despite this, no marine mammals were seen for the first two hours, but things were getting interesting. We passed through numerous debris ‘fields’, likely outwash from the Connecticut River stemming from the heavy rains that pounded New England earlier in the week. Then the water got very warm as we entered a warm-core eddy spinning off the Gulf Stream. Then came the flying fish, and Portuguese Man o’ War, and at last, bottlenose dolphins! These were no ordinary bottlenose, though. Since 2009, CRESLI began predominantly encountering inshore (coastal type) bottlenose dolphins. Yesterday, however, it was the offshore population’s turn to make an appearance. These large dolphins, including a mom and calf pair, swam toward and around the vessel, porpoising and leaping for all to enjoy. After spending an hour with them, we moved on searching for something even larger. As before, it took some time, but good things come to those who wait! A blow was spotted belonging to a fin whale, and shortly after, another belonging to a second. As we observed the fin whales, three more blows appeared belonging to humpback whales! The humpbacks were kick-feeding, pectoral (flipper) slapping, and dragging, a process where, having engulfed tremendous quantities of water and prey, they slowly drain the water out through baleen at the surface. It was an incredible experience, but all good things come to an end, and it was our time to return home.
We will most likely be returning to this spot on Sunday’s cruise. Want to join us??

  • 40-60 Offshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 2 fin whales
  • 3 humpback whales
  • 180 Great shearwaters
  • 73 Cory’s shearwaters
  • 1 Manx shearwater
  • 2 Portuguese man o’war
  • 10-12 flying fish

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints. artwork to help support our work

Wednesday, July 19, 2023 

Expectations Exceeded!

After Wednesday’s incredible encounters and a weather-cancelled trip on Sunday, we headed offshore with high hopes that the whales observed last week would still be around for today’s cruise. That plan was quickly interrupted by two humpbacks appearing halfway into our transit, feeding and moving closely in association with one another. Upon further observation, we were thrilled to find a familiar whale within the pair: Hasselback! Hasselback is a whale that we first encountered as a calf (to Scylla) in 2016 in the Great South Channel. In 2018, the then-unnamed humpback was observed off Montauk again before appearing in 2021 with horrific propeller-blade scarring from a boat strike. Despite his injury, Hasselback was sighted again in 2022 feeding and doing well. A few weeks ago, CRESLI had the distinct honor of announcing his Gulf of Maine Humpback Catalogue name (maintained by the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies) to the public. As we spent time with the duo, several pods of inshore bottlenose dolphins appeared, also feeding on the abundant prey beneath the surface. A third humpback was spotted and, after everyone onboard got excellent views of the dolphins, we eventually sailed off into deeper water. There, we encountered three more humpbacks, including a mother and calf pair, our first of the season! Traveling onward a bit more, we encountered six more humpbacks, all cooperatively feeding and straining the prey through their baleen at the surface. We spent some time with them before heading home, thrilled from being immersed in cetaceans throughout the cruise.

  • 3 Atlantic gray seals
  • 200 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 14 humpback whales (including a cow/calf pair)
  • 45 Great shearwaters
  • 20 Cory's shearwaters
  • 2 Manx shearwaters
  • 5 Wilson’s storm petrels
  • 1 Parasitic jaeger

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Dolphins, humpback whale, sharks, and more!

Sunday’s trip began with a bang! A gray seal rolled acrobatically in the water alongside our vessel as we sailed out of port. Then, only five minutes from the lighthouse, a breach was spotted by one of our sharp-eyed volunteers. We quickly turned course to find a juvenile humpback whale repeatedly breaching and pec-slapping (slapping its long, pectoral flippers on the surface of the water). We enjoyed views of the young whale, which began taking shallow (non-fluking) dives before diving deep enough to expose its tail flukes out of the water, an important tool used to identify the individual. From there, we moved offshore in search of the larger individuals encountered on our last trip. Unfortunately, the whales had moved on from that spot so we continued searching, stumbling upon two sharks (of unknown species), and eventually spotting a small pod of inshore bottlenose dolphins. Some of the dolphins were leaping out of the water and appeared to be feeding, spending time under the water in a tight group. We steamed home, enjoying beautiful views of the cliffs, diving terns and warm, summer breezes.

Our trips remain 100% successful in finding cetaceans this season. Join us on our next trip!

  • 1 Atlantic gray seal
  • 1 humpback whale
  • 16-20 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 40-50 Great shearwaters
  • 8-10 Cory’s shearwaters
  • 2 sharks (species unknown)

Photos to view and/or purchase images, porints, artwork to help support our work

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

An epic trip unlike any in a decade!

We headed out to sea to escape the heat. We had reports of dolphins and whales and headed SE and soon found a group of 50-60 inshore bottlenose dolphins, chasing their prey over an area of about 1 square nautical mile. After the dolphins we headed south to no avail.  We then traveled east, then north and on our way we saw blows! We never gave up and we found 5 fin whales actively feeding! They were circle feeding, taking 3-5 minute dives to feed on the dense bait we were seen at the surface (to 20 feet) and on the bottom (100 feet). There appeared to be a mom/calf pair in this group of 5.  The adults were easily 60-70' long and probably weighed 120-140,000 lbs.

We have not seen 5 fin whales swimming together and feeding this actively in a decade. We got back the dock late, but nobody complained!

  • 50-60 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 5 fin whales (finback whales)
  • 127 Great shearwaters
  • 7 Cory's shearwaters

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Just gets better and better! 300-400 Bottlenose dolphins and 5 humpback whales

On a comfortable day, with unlimited visibility, we were ready to find lots of cetaceans , and that we did. We had reports of dolphins “everywhere,” and whales where we’d seen them on our last, as well as closer to shore. Are assumption that the nearshore whales were juvenile humpbacks was correct. These juvenile humpback whales and dolphins were searching for and feeding on the abundant patches of Atlantic menhaden (AKA bunker). We watched as the whales fed via subsurface lunges. These were small humpbacks, probably no larger than 24 feet. Our first 4 humpbacks undertook no “surface” activity, but our 5th humpback was repeatedly flipper-slapping and surfacing lunging,.  Beautiful to watch.  We’re already looking forward to Wednesday’s trip!!  Join us.

A reminder to all – you will need cash to purchase food and drinks onboard, and to enter the 50/50 raffle, should you wish.

  • 300-400 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 5 humpback whales
  • 200 Great shearwaters
  • 10 Cory’s shearwaters

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork  to help support our work.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Our streak continues!

With temperatures in the 70’s, calm seas, and absolutely unlimited visibility, we could not have asked for better conditions to search for cetaceans on our ninth trip of the season. Reports of whales brought us west of Block Island where spouts were immediately spotted. The first belonged to two humpback whales, surfacing, swimming, and diving in near unison as they fed on the abundant bait throughout the water column. Very soon after, a large fin (finback) whale was also observed accompanied by hundreds of short-beaked common dolphins. We stayed with the whales and dolphins for nearly two hours, getting great views of the spectacle as dolphins surrounded our vessel and the two humpbacks did a “swim-by” popping up on two separate occasions right next to our vessel, which sat safely out of gear. The presence of the fin whale, approximately 70 feet in length, was routinely announced by common dolphins which would pop up just moments before and ahead of the whale, riding its ‘bow’ wake as it surfaced. A minke whale was also spotted on several occasions and everyone had excellent views of the tiny, but tough Wilson storm petrels which numbered 100 or more. A few passengers were even lucky enough to get quick glimpses of two sea turtles (of unknown species) which were also (very briefly) encountered. Our trips remain 100% successful in finding cetaceans this season. Join us as we head out again this Sunday in search of more! Please remember to bring cash to purchase drinks and food from the galley and for our 50/50 raffle, if you wish to participate.

  • 2 sea turtles
  • 2 humpback whales
  • 1 fin (finback) whale (an individual not seen since 7/31/2010 - almost 13 years to the day), perhaps another as wrll
  • 1 minke whale
  • 100-120 Wilson storm petrels
  • 15-20 Cory’s shearwaters
  • 30-50 Great shearwaters

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work.

Here's a slideshow

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Patience and persistence pay off!

Our tenth trip of the season had us worker harder than usual to find cetaceans, but as with our other nine trips, we succeeded! We first headed south of Montauk following up on reports of whales, but instead of whales, we found several small pods of inshore bottlenose dolphins, collectively totaling 120-140 individuals. The dolphins were feeding and moving in tight circles around our vessel, in some cases charging towards an area and actively tail-slapping the water. Passengers had great views of the dolphins, which literally surrounded our vessel, and even heard vocalizations when they passed near the bow. We spent time observing their feeding strategies and tight-knit social structure, and even spotted a few mom/calf pairs swimming closely together. As wonderful as the encounter was, we moved on in search of larger cetaceans. At first, our only encounter was with a deadly killer; a mylar balloon floating at the surface. With the potential of being ingested by marine life mistaking it for food, we maneuvered the vessel to collect the balloon and remove the harm. This good karma may have played a role in what happened next; soon after, small tuna were seen breaking the surface and a blow was spotted in the distance. The whale was far off, but seemed to be humpback whale based on our initial observations. While waiting for the whale to surface, we encountered a fin whale approximately 75 feet in length. This whale turned out to be the same individual encountered on Wednesday’s trip (as identified by distinct notches on her dorsal fin). CRESLI knows this whale because, prior to these recent observations, she was last encountered in 2010, accompanied by a calf, not far from this location. We removed another mylar balloon and discovered the humpback whale while waiting for the fin whale to surface. Both whales were feeding on bait detected 50 feet below the surface in 170 feet of water, leading to long down times. We returned to port later than normal accompanied by a beautiful summer sunset heralding the end of a wonderful day.

  • 120-140 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 humpback whale
  • 1 fin whale
  • Leaping tuna (small)
  • 30 Wilson’s storm petrels
  • 20-30 Cory’s shearwaters
  • 11 Great shearwaters
  • 1 Parasitic jaeger
  • 1 Glaucous gull

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work.

Here's a slideshow

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Good things come to those who wait!

After a morning of wicked and lingering thunderstorms, the Viking Starship set sail under blue skies and calm seas for its 11th whale watch of our season. We quickly found a pod of inshore bottlenose dolphins, made up of between 30-40 individuals all actively feeding on bait near the surface. We enjoyed views of the dolphins before heading off to find larger cetaceans. Our search led us far offshore into waters where whales had been previously seen. Here, we searched in vain, before, at last, spotting a blow far off in the distance. The whale, observed through binoculars, was a fin whale and, in 170 feet of water, was presumably feeding on abundant bait 100 feet down. This led to extremely long down times and limited encounters. Unfortunately, we had to begin our transit back so we left this whale but continued looking. As the sun began to set on the day and our time at sea, we suddenly found ourselves in the presence of 6-8 (possibly more) humpback whales, dozens of Wilson’s storm petrels and Great Shearwaters, all feeding on plentiful bait at the surface. Upon our approach, one of the humpbacks breached clearly out of the water as if to articulate the excitement of passengers onboard. We then found ourselves in the middle of the action; safely out of gear as the whales popped up in every direction around the vessel. There may have been as many as 10-14 individuals, but it was difficult to look beyond those surrounding our vessel to verify. We spent as much time as we could with these magnificent animals before, once again, needing to return home. As we left, one of the whales began lobtailing (raising and slapping its tail out of/onto the water), as if to bid us farewell. Passengers at the back of the vessels counted 27 slaps before stopping. It was a great and fruitful end to our adventure!
We will be returning to this area on Wednesday. Want to join us?

  • 30-40 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 finback whale
  • 14 humpback whales
    • Including:
      • Apex
      • Bombay
      • Manhattan
      • Mars
      • Masai
      • NYB057
      • Snowslide
      • Timberline
  • 1 sea turtle (loggerhead or green)
  • 80-100 Wilson’s storm petrels
  • 60-80 Great shearwaters
  • 20-30 Cory’s shearwaters

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work.

Here's a slideshow

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Extraordinary is an Understatement!

There are not enough superlatives to describe yesterday’s incredible encounters! For our 12th trip of the season, we headed off to search for whales a few miles off Block Island where we saw them on our previous voyage. The transit was marked by large patches of pelagic birds: hundreds of Cory’s and Great shearwaters and Wilson’s storm petrels, some noticeably feeding at the surface, but no cetaceans were among them. That was until we spotted multiple blows belonging to, at first, 5-6 humpbacks, including two associated pairs feeding in rich tuna fishing grounds. To our surprise, two fin whales joined in, along with a minke whale, marking three cetacean species within a quarter mile of each other. We watched these whales for a while, before heading on towards additional blows, belong to two more humpbacks, and enjoying great views of these and the fin whales which approached close to our vessel. Just when we thought it could not get any better, we spotted a tremendous number of birds and bubbles ahead of us, followed by 4-5 humpbacks surfacing with mouths wide open, straining the prey through their baleen. This phenomenon was repeated by a group of three additional humpbacks nearby, along with many others in the near vicinity tail-throwing and chin breaching. The actual number of individuals remains to be determined through photographic analysis but preliminary estimates suggest that we encountered at least twenty humpbacks, possibly four fin whales, and 1 minke. A group of 40-60 short-beaked common dolphins also arrived along with a gray seal spotted in the harbor both before and after our cruise for the icing on the cake. It was an unbelievably amazing day on the Viking Starship and with only six trips remaining, you won’t want to miss your opportunity to join us during our incredible 2023 season!

  • 20-28 humpback whales

    • Including:

      • Bombay
      • Ganesh
      • HDRVAMn003
      • Manhattan
      • Multiply
      • Nimbus
      • Snowslide
  • 3-4 fin whales
  • 1 minke whale
  • 40-60 short-beaked common dolphins
  • 1 gray seal
  • 350-500 great shearwaters
  • 80-120 Cory’s shearwaters
  • 120-180 Wilson’s storm petrels
  • Undetermined number of Pomarine jaegers
  • 120-180 Wilson’s storm petrels
  • Undetermined number of Pomarine jaegers

Photos to view and/or purchase to help support our work

Here's a slideshow

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Check this one off your bucket list!

Passengers aboard yesterday’s whale watch excursion experienced the trip of a lifetime! It all began with a breaching humpback, which upon further investigation, turned out to be not one, but two whales! The possible mom and calf pair breached more than a dozen times, performing acrobatic twirls and twisting breaches directly ahead of our vessel. In the vicinity were blows from at least 7-8 other whales, but the boat sat safely out of gear watching the display until the pair (and we) moved on. We immediately encountered a handful of other humpback whales, at least two fin whales, and at least one minke whale. The animals were moving quickly completing shallow, subsurface dives to feed on the bait detected just below the surface. Then things got really interesting; humpbacks began popping up on all sides of the vessel straining prey through their baleen and flipper (pec) slapping. More blows spouted off in the distance while fin and minke whales popped up next to us affording spectacular views. Then, a pod of 40-60 short-beaked common dolphins came charging in to join the feast. Hundreds of shearwaters and storm petrels completed the guest list. There were cetaceans in close proximity everywhere you looked. More humpbacks appeared within a cloud of bubbles slowly moving along the surface (a technique known as dragging) to strain the engulfed water out through their baleen and retain their prey. A nearby breach surprised passengers at the stern and we all had the fortunate problem of not knowing where to look as the spectacle surrounded the Viking Starship entirely. Altogether, we encountered 20-26 humpbacks, 4-6 fin whales and 3-5 minke whales, with many others in the surrounding waters.

We have only five trips remaining in our incredible season. Book your trip with us today! Please remember to bring cash to purchase food in our galley and our 50/50 raffle, should you wish to participate. We hope to see you soon!

  • 20-26 humpback whales
  • 4-6 fin (finback) whales
  • 3-5 minke whales
  • 160-220 Cory’s shearwaters
  • 260-320 Great shearwaters
  • 1 Sooty shearwater
  • 120-160 Wilson’s storm petrels

Photos to view and/or purchase images, pprints, artwork to help support our work

Here's a slideshow

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Another multi-species day!

It was a beautiful day on the water, with unlimited visibility, and calm seas.  We had reports of dolphins and whales near Montauk and found both within a short time after passing Montauk Point Lighthouse. Groups of Inshore bottlenose dolphins were spread out around us, perhaps a total of 45 individuals were busy chasing prey and feeding. In a short while we moved a bit further away and found a humpback whale, MTK.2022.09.04-03, who we'd also seen on July 19, 2023, 1 nautical mile further south.
After watching these cetaceans for a while, we decided to hear eastward towards where we'd been seeing 20-30 whales for about 2 weeks.  To our disappointment, the prey and the whales were gone, they'd travelled well to the east, beyond our range.  We headed back and off in the distance saw a humpback breach several times, and as we approached , we realized that this was the same whale we'd left a few hours earlier. Were we elated, and this whale was joined by about 60 inshore bottlenose, chasing surface prey with even more activity than earlier. We return ed to the dock with lots of happy passengers and crew.

We have only a few trips remaining in our incredible season. Book your trip with us today! Please remember to bring cash to purchase food in our galley and our 50/50 raffle, should you wish to participate. We hope to see you soon!

  • 105 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 Humpback whale
  • 84 Cory's shearwaters
  • 47 Great shearwaters
  • 20 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 1 Parasitic jaeger (seen by birder, not seen by many others)
  • 5 red-necked phalaropes

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work

Here's a slideshow

Sunday, August 27, 2023

We never stopped looking and found them again! 

On a gorgeous day with excellent visibility, we headed out in search of cetaceans. We had reports of whales and dolphins near  the lighthouse and we found them quickly, within 3 nautical miles. The humpback we saw was one we'd seen in late July, and there were about 50 inshore common dolphins swimming around us as well.  We had reports of other whales to the east, where we'd been seeing them for a few weeks. Alas, they were gone. We headed back to where we'd seen our first whale, and found it again because it breached off in the distance. As we approached, we began to see other humpback blows. In fact, we found two associated pairs of humpbacks in addition to our first whale of the trip. We also found our typical array of Cory's and Great shearwaters, as well as Wilson's storm petrels. We got back to the dock about 20 minutes late, but the delay was well worth it.

  • 5 Humpback whales
  • 50 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 160 Cory's shearwaters
  • 57 Great shearwaters
  • 13 Wilson's storm petrels
  • ~200 Common terns (in one area about ~5 nm out)

Book your trip with us today! Please remember to bring cash to purchase food from the galley and our 50/50 raffle, should you wish to participate. We hope to see you soon!

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work

Here's a slideshow

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Bookended by dolphins and scintillated by a sunset!

Although passengers boarded the Viking Starship in the rain yesterday, the sun came out as soon as we set sail and stayed dry for the remainder of the trip. We began, almost immediately, with a group of inshore bottlenose dolphins, which were feeding on small patches of prey beneath the surface, before heading off in search of whales to our southwest. We searched in vain for a while, before coming upon an unusually small and inquisitive pod of short-beaked common dolphins which charged toward the vessel and remained with us for several minutes darting around and under the bow, affording great, up-close views of themselves. We eventually left these enigmatic animals to continue our search, finally coming upon a small humpback whale. The whale was spending time feeding just under the surface, completing shallow non-fluking dives to reach the bait detected just below the surface. We spent time with the young whale that eventually, revealed its somewhat hazy pigmented flukes on a deeper, high fluking dive at the end of our time together. As we traveled back to port, we were surprised by another group of bottlenose dolphins, which surfed and leaped in the accompanying swells. The dolphins, clearly having fun, nearly surrounded and played around the vessel. We continued home, coming upon additional small groups of bottlenose dolphins, and enjoying a spectacular summer sunset as we headed into port. Days like this are not meant to last, and only four trips remain in our season. We hope you can join us before it ends. iRemember to bring cash to purchase food in our galley and to participate in our 50/50 raffle, should you wish to.

  • 1 young humpback whale
  • 80-100 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 3-5 Short-beaked common dolphins
  • 60-80 Great shearwaters
  • 20-30 Cory’s shearwaters
  • 30-40 Wilson’s storm petrels
  • 1 Manx shearwater

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work

Here's a slideshow

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Summer is still sizzling!

While Labor Day weekend traditionally marks a time to celebrate the unofficial end of summer, the CRESLI and Viking Fleet team was hard at work finding whales in the waters off Montauk. Reports of whales and dolphins had us searching an area to our east before heading west along the shoreline. Despite whales being seen earlier, the waters were now barren with only occasional patches of resting seabirds, bellies full from previous feedings. We briefly encountered a very small group of inshore bottlenose dolphins, which did not stick around for better views, unfortunately. All was not lost, however, as we soon found a humpback whale that we’d seen a week earlier, NYC0008, feeding on bait detected just below the surface. Interestingly, NYC0008 was first seen 10 years ago by our colleagues at Gotham Whale. NYC0008 alternated between periods of sub-surface (shallow) diving and logging (resting), often moving closely to our vessel which was safely out of gear. Eventually, it was time to head back towards the harbor, but the whales in the area had other plans. On our transit home, we encountered 4-5 additional humpbacks, two of which seemingly ‘bookended’ us, appearing left and right of our vessel and affording nice views as they alternatingly surfaced and dove ahead of us. While waiting for one of the two whales to surface, we observed blows far off in the distance belonging to the other 2 or 3 individuals. Then – what a treat! One of the whales appeared off our stern lob-tailing (tail slapping). With the sun soon setting and summer’s haze filling the sky, it was a beautiful end to our holiday weekend trip. Don’t be fooled: summer doesn’t end for a few more weeks and CRESLI has three trips remaining! Book today before the season ends for good.

Be sure to bring cash to purchase food in our galley and to participate in our 50/50 raffle, should you wish to do so.

  • 5-6 humpback whales
  • 2-6 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 20-24 Cory’s shearwaters
  • 40-60 Great shearwaters

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work

Here's a slideshow

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Oh, what a trip! 3 species of cetaceans!

We didn't need patience on this trip, we found whales almost right away. We left the heat and headed out to sea. A short while after passing Montauk Light, we encountered our first of 15 whales. The 50 of us on board were treated to views of humpback whales, finback whales, and inshore bottlenose dolphins right away. We had one humpback breach and flipper slap, another throwing its tail repeatedly, and so much more. The fin whales (mom/calf pair) left early, and the rest stayed to feed on the abundant prey just below the surface. The dolphins stayed until a large humpback trumpeted. A humpback trumpet blow is often an agonistic display, perhaps aimed at the dolphins.  They took the message and left. We left as well only to find more humpbacks wherever we went. Unlike other trips, we were generally in sight of the Montauk Point Lighthouse. We stayed with one humpback for a while because we thought its left pectoral flipper was injured.  Photos and videos were sent to Dr. Jooke Robbins at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (https://coastalstudies.org/). Her initial response was that the behavior we saw was not necessarily due to injury.

We continued to find whales and dolphins until it was time to return to the dock. Book today before the season ends for good. Be sure to bring cash to purchase food in our galley and to participate in our 50/50 raffle, should you wish to do so.

  • 8-12 humpback whales 
  • 2 finback whale
  • ~150 inshore bottlenose
  • 1 Wilson's storm petrels
  • ~200 Great shearwaters
  • ~70 Cory's shearwaters

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work

Here's a slideshow

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Another amazing 3 species trip, with a sideshow of amazing weather front views.

Our streak of consecutive cetacean sightings continues. We headed out to escape the extreme heat  and to find whales. On our way west, we got to see spectacular cloud formations to our south. We eventually entered an area where we hit a "wall of wind" as well as light rain and a 10-15 degree drop in air temperature. We were no more than 0.5 miles from shore and we all put on sweatshirts and/or raincoats. Shortly thereafter we found our first pod of inshore bottlenose dolphins. Later we found 2 juvenile humpback whales, then a minke whale, and then more pods of inshore bottlenose dolphins. All the while we were watching thousands of gulls and shearwaters raising a ruckus and feeding in the same shallow area where we found the whales. Make sure to view and listen to the videos posted at https://drartiek-cresli.smugmug.com/CRESLI-2023-Whale-Watches/2023-09-10-Montauk-Whale-Watch.

Book today before the season ends for good on 9/17/2023 (weather permitting). Be sure to bring cash to purchase food in our galley and to participate in our 50/50 raffle, should you wish to do so.

  • 2 humpback whales
  • 1 minke whale
  • 50 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • ~100 Cory's shearwaters
  • ~12 Great shearwaters
  • 1 Sooty shearwater (seen and photographed by a passenger)
  • 1 Wilson's storm petrel
  • Thousands of blackback, herring, and ring-billed gulls

 

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work

Here's a slideshow

Sunday, September 17, 2023

The End of an Amazing Season

To be honest, we weren’t sure what to expect on our final whale watch of the season. Although, whales and dolphins remain in the area, Hurricane Lee which passed far to our northeast, whipped up very high seas from Friday night into Saturday, and although conditions calmed for us to sail, we never know what we might find after a storm of such impact moves through. Despite this, spirits were high as we searched an area where two whales had been spotted earlier aboard a Viking fishing vessel. Unfortunately, no whales were found, nor were the dolphins that had also been eyed that morning near the jetty from the same vessel. We saw a few Cory’s shearwaters and patches of diving terns as we sailed east of Block Island, an area where we have found many cetaceans on previous trips. This time, however, the area was barren. For a couple of hours, only a few sporadic gulls could be seen and little bait was detected, very unusual for such a typically productive area. The wind picked up as we sailed westward making for choppier seas, but visibility was unlimited and we continued searching. Then, a blow was spotted by the naturalist and investigated. It belonged to a small humpback whale, which was moving below the surface and completing shallow non-fluking dives, likely to feed on (and/or search for) the very limited bait that was detected at the top of the water column. We spent a good amount of time with the whale which eventually popped up closer to the vessel and finally dove deep enough to raise its magnificent flukes out of the water for all to see (and for CRESLI to obtain photographs sufficient to identify the individual). We continued searching on our transit home, as the summer sun set on our trip and our 2023 season. The storm may have made conditions unfavorable for finding whales, but our dedicated team succeeded one last time to make this another perfect season for finding cetaceans (our second in a row). 
We wish to thank everybody who participated in a whale watch with us and hope to see new and familiar faces next season! Thank you for your support.

  • 1 humpback whale
  • 3 Cory’s shearwaters
  • 3 shearwaters of unknown species

Photos to view and/or purchase images, prints, artwork to help support our work

Here's a slideshow


CRESLI /Viking Fleet Montauk Sighting reports from 2013-2022

Best CRESLI /Viking Fleet Montauk Whale Watch photos and videos from 2012-2022 

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