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

Latest Trips

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


Latest Trips

CRESLI 2021 Whale Watch Sighting Report Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 nd 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

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 (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

Wednesday July 28, 2021

A special day!! 7 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

  • 7 humpback whales
  • 1 minke whale
  • 120 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 Wilson's storm petrel
  • 1 Northern Gannet

Photos from 7/28/21 available to view and purchase

Saturday July 31, 2021

2 humpback whales

Within 20 minutes of passing the Montauk Lighthouse, we saw our first whale spout.  We spent some time with this young humpback whale giving us a blow or two and before diving down.  Showing us its tail fluke, presumably to forage on baitfish close to sea floor and then surfacing every three minutes or so. This humpback gave us a peduncle throw for everyone to see as well.  Continuing heading west, we saw another young humpback whale giving us a blow or two before diving.  This humpback only fluked once likely feeding close to the surface.  Overall, a very nice day out on the water with unlimited visibility.  
 

  • 2 Humpback Whales
  • 1 Cory’s Shearwater

Photos from 7/31/21 available to view and purchase

Sunday August 1, 2021

Another successful trip! 2minkes and 1 humpback!

What a wonderful day we had on the Viking Starship! Unlimited visibility and crisp cool air were perfect conditions for finding whales. Again with 30 minutes of passing Montauk Light, we found a minke whale that allowed us some wonderful views as it swam repeatedly near the bow. We headed further and 45 minutes later, another minke (larger the 1st one) surfaced within 2 yards of the starboard side of our bow sprit. Captain Davy immediately stopped and the whale dove as the crew collectively held its breath. Within 30 minutes we encountered a 27-36' humpback that was one we had seen on Wednesday, We had amazing views as this whale rolled over and was logging (resting) with intermittent low-fluking and high-fluking dive to reach the massive concentrations of prey at 40' (mid-water) and 75' (bottom)..

  • 2 Minke whales
  • 1 Humpback whale
  • 5 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 4 Cory's shearwaters

Photos from 8/1/21 available to view and purchase

Wednesday August 4, 2021

Whales in the rain!

We headed out with excellent visibility and just a light misty rain, hoping that the rain would stay to our south. Oh well, we were wrong, although when the wind was behind us, the rain was quite tolerable. We weren’t really fazed by the rain and continued to search for whales. After about an hour, a minke whale did a full-body breach just 200 yds from then port bow. It was an amazing, yet fleeting sight that only a handful of us saw. An hour later we saw the tell-tall splash of a breach and headed to find a humpback lunge feeding and taking high-fluking dives. These were great sights that made the rainy trip worthwhile. The humpback was one we’d seen in this area 2 weeks earlier

  • 1 minke whale
  • 1 humpback whale
  • 1 Ocean Sunfish
  • 48 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 4 Cory's shearwaters

Photos from 8/4/21 available to view and purchase

Saturday August 7, 2021

Only fainting glimpses today.

Nice weather, favorable seas and 10+ miles of visibility, while traveling over 44 miles only yielding a few of us a brief view of a cetacean.  We had an unidentified whale blow spotted by one of our CRESLI volunteers a mile or so behind us.  We searched long and hard but never saw the whale come up again.  A while later, a dolphin was spotted by a few members of the crew only to swim away and not seen again.  We also had an unknown shark species swim by close to the boat, giving people on that side a quick view before disappearing. We do not get many trips like this with great conditions and little to no sightings.  Our track record says we will have better days in the future.

  •  1 unidentified whale species blow
  • 1 dolphin
  • 1 shark
  • 6 Cory’s shearwaters

Sunday August 8, 2021

Another AMAZING multi-species day! 

Unlimited visibility, flat seas, gray skies, with just a few sprinkles for 2 minutes after leaving the dock - a far cry from the storm/rainy weather to our west. Our first whale was a minke, not far from Montauk Lighthouse. Within 45 minutes we saw 2 other minkes, and then the first of 5 humpback whales. Within an hour we found 3 more minkes, another humpback, and 15 inshore bottlenose dolphins and that was just the beginning. Within the next 40 minutes we encountered 4 more humpbacks and 45 more inshore bottlenose dolphins. To top it off, we found a smooth hammerhead shark on our way back in.

  • 6 humpback whales
  • 6 minke whales
  • 60 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 hammerhead shark
  • 2 Cory's shearwaters
  • 5 Wilson's storm petrels

Photos from 8/8/21 available to view and purchase

Wednesday August 11, 2021

4.5 year old humpback whale (Liner 2016 calf) again!

Today, the fog that had been around for hours lifted and we were able to head out. Our 3 miles of visibility was enough and within 30 minutes after passing Montauk Lighthouse, we found our 1st whale. This was a 4.5 year old humpback whale (Liner 2016 calf) that has been around Montauk for at least 4 weeks. It was busy feeding on prey at the bottom, spending up to 9 minutes down. At one point, it BREACHED right off our port bow (15 week away). An awesome full body breach!

After spending 50 minutes with this whale, we decided to look for others. What we found, unfortunately, was dense fog everywhere. That was it and we decided to head back to port.

  • 1 humpback whale
  • 4 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 2 Cory's shearwaters
  • 1 Great shearwater
  • 1 Manx shearwater

Photos from 8/11/21 available to view and purchase

Saturday August 14, 2021

An awesome 3 species of cetaceans day

Another great day to be out on the water.  10+ miles of visibility, calm seas, a cool breeze and plenty of sunshine.  Less than half an hour after passing Montauk Lighthouse, we came upon a pair of humpback whales giving us plenty of views with short dive times due to large schools of Atlantic menhaden (bunker) at the surface.  One even showed off giving us a few peduncle throws. As the Viking Starship continued heading west we found 3 minke whales with one of them giving us a couple of nice views to make comparisons of size and behavioral patterns with the humpback whales we had just seen.  Next we saw a large Mola mola (ocean sunfish) just resting at the surface.  As we headed further south we found another humpback whale and 30 – 40 inshore bottlenose dolphins.  Continuing our trip, we found another minke whale and approximately 20 inshore bottlenose dolphins swimming in the same general area.   There we several whale blows off in distance in multiple directions that we just did not have time to investigate.  As we headed back to Montauk, we saw approximately 10 dolphins and another minke whale.  Later approaching the lighthouse, our original 2 humpbacks put on quite a show breaching and pec slapping filling up customer’s memory cards with many pictures and videos. What a fabulous way to end a great trip.

  • 3 humpback whales
  • 5 minke whales
  • 60-70 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 Wilson’s storm petrel
  • 3 Cory’s shearwaters

Photos from 8/14/21 available to view and purchase

Sunday August 15, 2021

Another spectacular 3 species trip! Humpbacks, minkes, and inshore bottlenose dolphins!

We couldn't have asked for better conditions - unlimited visibility, 10-15 knot winds out of the NW, and 2' seas that later flattened out as the wind changed to SW. Within 20 minutes of passing Montauk Lighthouse we were on our first whale, MTK.2021.08.15-01, a flipper slapping, rolling humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae). 20 minutes later, we are visited by a small ocean sunfish (Mola mola). 20 minutes later, we  meet our 2nd humpback and our 3rd humpback a few minutes after that. 20 minutes later, we encounter our 4th humpback.  It's a young whale (small) and has survived an encounter with a propeller that left terrible scars on its left fluke. It was resting periodically and feeding, but it looked to be unwell and weak, or so we thought, due to the tremendous areas of sloughed skin. We ever wrong! Five breaches followed by 10 minutes of flipper-slapping showed how much energy this whale had. Throughout our hours among the humpbacks we encountered 3 different minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). As we headed in, we encountered an aggregation of several small groups of inshore bottlenose, perhaps 45 in total.

What a special day!

  • 4 humpback whales
  • 3 minke whales
  • 60 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 ocean sunfish
  • 2 Cory's shearwaters

Photos from 8/15/21 available to view and purchase

Wednesday August 18, 2021

Our best trip of the year!!

Once again we had perfect conditions and lots of whales reported to us. 15 minutes after passing Montauk Lighthouse, we saw our first of about 12 minke whales. We encountered our the 1st of 11 humpback whales 30 minutes later! We were able to get close to photograph and identify 6 humpbacks, while the other 5 were seen within a 800 yard radius around us as we left out last whale – we’d run out of time.  

What made this trip extra special was that the last whale we were close to (the 2016 calf of Nile) was a true survivor. This young male had been severely entangled in 2900 lbs. of fishing gear and was disentangled via a herculean 4 day effort (https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/humpback-whale-disentangled-new-york-all-thanks-team-effort). We were the first vessel to encounter this whale last year 3 weeks after being freed.  We saw the extent of its injuries and were glad (as was all involved) to have seen it alive on August 19, 2020.  To see it again 364 days later only 4 nautical miles away from where we last saw it on August 2020 was special.  To see that the horrendous wounds have healed was even more special. Everyone onboard was elated!

11 humpback whales
12 minke whales
1 hammerhead shark
25 Wilson’s storm petrels
15 Cory’s shearwaters 

Photos from 8/18/21 available to view and purchase

Saturday August 21, 2021

Minke whale and ~100-120 short-beaked common dolphins!

So, what do you do on  the day before a hurricane is supposed to hit? Go looking for whales and dolphins, of course! The visibility was good, albeit the clouds and sky were gray, while the long, rolling 5’ ground swell was very comfortable.  Once again we found our first whale, another minke (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), right near Montauk Lighthouse.  We also saw a blow from a humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) ½ mile away, but that whale didn’t show up again.  We headed somewhat offshore to stay in deeper calmer waters. We found no other baleen whales, but were able to spend at least on hour with a large aggregation of about 100 short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis).  The dolphins were amazing, with lots of mom and calf pairs, lots of porpoising, and jumping.  These were an aggregation of several social groups, and often some would come over to try and ride of bow.  We made no attempts to encourage this behavior, but even when moving slowly, the dolphins came to try and catch a lift in our bow wake.  The lucky people along the bow were able to hear these animals vocalize and communicate with one another. What an amazing experience to undergo.

We hope that you weather the storm well and hope to see you out there with us on future trips.

  • 1 minke whale
  • 100-120 short-beaked common dolphins
  • 30 Cory’s shearwaters
  • 5 Great shearwaters
  • 1 Sooty shearwater
  • 20 Wilson's storm petrels

Photos from 8/21/21 available to view and purchase

Wednesday August 25, 2021

Another multi-species day!

As we left the dock, a young gray seal (Halichoerus grypus)that we'd seen before was swimming around searching for food. Our trip on the oceans started out with a minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) that just a few of us saw (we call that a "stinky minke").  We then found a small group (10) of inshore bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and later encountered one large group (50) and another small group (10), about 70 in all.  In the interim we spent time up close with a truly "stinky" humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae).  "Stinky" due to the mildly fetid, funky smell of its blow (perhaps due to a lung infection). Stinky humpback blows are and not that common but truly memorable.  The "bait" was abundant often near the sea floor (about 90 feet depth), we saw others blows in the distance, including a massive fin whale blow at least a mile further south, unfortunately we weren't able to fin it after we'd spent our time with the humpback. It  was a relatively calm day but warm day, with sea-surface temperatures in the low-mid 70's. 

  • 1 Humpback whale
  • 1 Minke whale
  • 70 Inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 gray seal
  • 13 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 24 Cory's shearwaters
  • 2 Great shearwaters

Photos from 8/25/21 available to view and purchase

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Another three species day, but a long one

The day started out with an Atlantic gray seal (Halichoerus grypus atlantica)feeding in the waters of Montauk Harbor right behind the Starship as we boarded passengers. 

Conditions were excellent as we headed out to the east where humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) had been spotted earlier in the day. We didn’t find that whale, but did find a group of inshore bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), a good start. As we headed south west we came across a few minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and a much larger group of inshore bottlenose dolphins. Late in the trip, our way back in we found a humpback whale! This was a whale we’d fist seen back in early July. It was wonderful to see and made everyone happy, but we returned to the dock 40 minutes. So, it was a long trip but worthwhile.

  • 1 humpback whale
  • 3 minke whales
  • 100 inshore bottlenose dolphins
  • 1 gray seal
  • 39 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
  • 5 Cory’s Shearwaters
  • 10 Great Shearwaters
  • 1 Manx Shearwater

Photos from 8/29/21 available to view and purchase

Saturday September 4, 2021

Baleen whales, birds, bunker, and a bat!

What a great day to be on the water! The weather was absolutely gorgeous with unlimited visibility and calm seas. We spent the first hour cruising near shore in search of whales. Soon, a blow was spotted by one of our volunteers and we observed a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) casually swimming and diving in approximately 50 feet of water. Then things got exciting with a surprise breach in full view of passengers watching from the bow. Shoals of bunker (Atlantic menhaden) were visible at the surface in about 32 feet of water and the whale moved into shallower water to feed. We knew something extraordinary was about to happen when the fish began leaping from the water followed immediately by the lunge-feeding humpback. At this same time, a minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) was spotted on the other side of our vessel and was either joined by a second minke or spotted again a moment later. The humpback eventually moved on and so did we, returning along the coast looking for other mammals. Although we did not find any along our path home, we did encounter three different species of shearwater (Great, Cory's, and Manx) characteristically shearing their way across the water, adding to a bird list that already included a northern gannet spotted earlier in the trip. We also had a brief view of a bat (unknown species). With such an amazing and beautiful day on the water and only one trip remaining for the season, it will be sad to say goodbye to summer but we thankfully have many happy memories to keep us warm.

  • 1 humpback whale
  • 1 Minke whale
  • 5 Wilson's storm petrel
  • 3 Great shearwaters
  • 1 Northern gannet
  • 1 bat

Photos from 9/4/21 available to view and purchase

Sunday September 5, 2021

Our last 2021 trip was a winner!

Our final trip for the 2021 season was anopther multi-species day that started, once again, with a large male gray seal in the harbor right behind the Viking Starship.

The conditions at sea were excellent: unlimited visibility, gray skies, and no sun glare. We headed west towards where we'd seen a humpback whale the day before. We found our humpback whale there too.Today's whale MTK.2021.07.28-04 has been seen by us 3 times over the past 5 weeks, a fine example of short-term site fidelity.  What a fine way to end this season with another view of one of our 28 humpbacks (including 16 new ones).

  • 1 Atlantic gray seal
  • 1 humpback whale
  • 2 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 10 Cory's sheawaters
  • 1 Great shearwater

Photos from 9/5/21 available to view and purchase


2020-2021 CRESLI SEAL WALKS AND MONITORING SESSION SIGHTINGS

Date Type of trip STATUS
Sunday November 08, 2020 SEAL MONITORING SESSION 8 Harbor seals hauled-out and 2 swimming PHOTOS

Monday November 09, 2020

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

2 harbor seals swimming

PHOTOS

Sunday November 15, 2020

SEAL WALK

3 Atlantic harbor seals on the far northeast end of the seal haulout sandbar in Moriches Bay (secondary haul-out site) and a lob-tailing humpback approximately 500 yards from shore on the ocean side at Cupsogue Beach during the

PHOTOS of seals and humpback

Sunday November 22, 2020

SEAL WALK 

Quick view of a large diving seal.  Could not ascertain species.

No photos

Friday November 27, 2020

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

36 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area, flushed into the water for unknown reason, the swam to secondary haul-out area far to the northeast

PHOTOS AND VIDEO 

Saturday November 28, 2020

SEAL WALK

Several harbor seals seen during an early monitoring session. ~20 harbor seals hauled-out on secondary haul-out area far to the northeast.

PHOTOS and VIDEO

Sunday, November 29, 2020

SEAL WALK

35 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area

PHOTOS and VIDEO

Thursday December 10, 2020

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

83 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area

PHOTOS and VIDEO

Sunday December 13, 2020

SEAL WALK

Several swimming harbor seals seen during an early monitoring session. ~30 harbor seals hauled-out on secondary haul-out area far to the northeast.

PHOTOS

Wednesday December 23, 2020

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

83 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area

VIDEO

PHOTOS

Saturday December 26, 2020

SEAL WALK

Several swimming harbor seals seen during an early monitoring session and during the seal walk

PHOTOS

Sunday December 27, 2020

SEAL WALK

Several swimming harbor seals seen during an early monitoring session. ~45 harbor seals hauled-out on secondary haul-out area far to the northeast.

PHOTOS

Friday January 1, 2021

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

~37 harbor seals (~25 hauled-out on secondary area, 2 on rocks, ~10 swimming)

PHOTOS

Saturday January 2, 2021

NYS DEC 1ST DAY HIKE

5 harbor seals swimming

PHOTOS

Wednesday January 6, 2021

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

171 seals (170 harbor seals and 1 gray seal) hauled out on the primary area 

PHOTOS

VIDEO

Saturday January 9, 2021

SEAL WALK

50 harbor seals hauled-out on primary area, 4 on rocks

PHOTOS

Sunday January 10, 2021

SEAL WALK

43 Atlantic harbor seals hauled-out on primary area. We watched as the approach of a duck hunting boat triggered all seals to enter the water.  Several hauled out again about 10 minutes later and the same vessel caused them to scatter.  The seals willrespond to the sounds of vessels that have disturbed them in the past.  Unfortunately, this particular vessel has flushed seals from the sandbar on multiple occasions. We can't wait for duck season to end. While the seals don;t necessarily respond to the sounds of gunshot, they do remember the sounds of vessels and react accordingly.

PHOTOS

Tuesday January 12, 2021

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

~10 harbor seals swimming

PHOTOS

Thursday January 14, 2021

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

22 Atlantic harbor seals, some new and others not seen in quite a while at Cupsogue Beach. Disturbances caused seals to only haulout on the far NE area of the sandbar. Swimming seals were near shore. 17 seals hauled out and 5 swimming.

PHOTOS

Thursday January 21, 2021

SEAL MONITORING SESSION

~7 harbor seals swimming. Once again, the expected haulout wasn't there. We assume that significant disturbance must have happened prior to our presence. By this date last year we had almost 1200 seal encounters in 14 trips.  So far for this season, we've only had 802 seal encounters in 22 trips. We surely hope that the some of the disturbances will end with the end of duck hunting season. We implore all to be vigilant about NOT DISTURBING RESTING SEALS. Give seals their distance! If they react to you in any way it's time for you to STOP what you're doing, DROP down to be less visible, and LEAVE 

PHOTOS

Saturday January 23, 2021

MONITORING SESSION and SEAL WALK

The recent trend of limited haulout numbers continues with just 6 seen prior to our seal walk. None were present during the seal walk.

PHOTOS

Sunday January24, 2021

MONITORING SESSION and SEAL WALK

6 harbor seal ( 2 on rocks and 4 swimming) seen prior to our seal walk. 6 harbor seals were seen swimming suring our walk.  On our way back, some of us were treated to views of a resting snowy owl

PHOTOS

Thursday February 4, 2021

MONITORING SESSION

186 harbor seals hauled out on the primary area 

PHOTOS

VIDEO

Saturday February 6, 2021

MONITORING SESSION and SEAL WALK

176 harbor seals hauled out on the primary area 

PHOTOS

Wednesday February 10, 2021

MONITORING SESSION 

68 harbor seals. 9 hauled out on rocks, 15 swimming, 44 hauled out on secondary are at the eastern end of the sandbar

PHOTOS

Wednesday February 17, 2021

MONITORING SESSION 

78 harbor seals hauled out on the primary area of the sandbar

PHOTOS

Saturday February 20, 2021

SEAL WALK 

43 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on sandbar in area used through 2006

PHOTOS

Sunday February 21, 2021

SEAL WALK 

65 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on sandbar in area used through 2006

PHOTOS

Wednesday February 24, 2021

SEAL WALK for Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library

195 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on sandbar in area used through 2006

PHOTOS

Saturday March 6, 2021

SEAL WALK

49 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out at two distinct regions of the sandbar. 29 at the far NNE end, and 20 at the now recently being reused 2006 area

PHOTOS

Sunday March 7, 2021

SEAL WALK

85 Atlantic harbor seals. 2 on rocks and 83 hauled out at the now recently being reused 2006 area

PHOTOS

Tuesday March 9, 2021

MONITORING SESSION 

134 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out at the now recently being reused 2006 area

PHOTOS

Saturday March 20, 2021

SEAL WALK

128 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out at the now recently being reused 2006 area

PHOTOS

Saturday March 21, 2021

SEAL WALK

12 Atlantic harbor seals swimming

PHOTOS

Wednesday March 23, 2021

MONITORING SESSION 

168 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out at primary haulout area

PHOTOS

VIDEO

Saturday April 3, 2021

SEAL WALK

153 seals including 132 Atlantic harbor seals and 1 juvenile Atlantic gray seal hauled out at the reused 2006 area, and 20 hauled out further east near the Moriches Coast Guard Station

PHOTOS

Sunday April 4, 2021

SEAL WALK

192 seals including 189 Atlantic harbor seals and 3 juvenile Atlantic gray seals hauled out at the reused 2006 area. We watched as they reacted a sound to the west, most of the seals turned to their left (west) and half entered the water, then the rest went in. Most seals headed to the inlet and about 60 swam to the tertiary haulout area nearer the Moriches Coast Guard station

PHOTOS

Sunday April 18, 2021

SEAL WALK

93 seals including 90 Atlantic harbor seals and 3 juvenile Atlantic gray seals hauled out at the reused 2006 area when we arrived. They were flushed into the water, but began to return within a few minutes. 11 minutes after being flushed,there were 69 seals (1 juvenile Atlantic gray seal and 62 Atlantic harbor seals hauled out on the sandbar with 6 harbor seals swimming). In about another 20 minutes they will be flushed again by a kayaker. KAYAKERS, STAY AWAY FROM RESTING SEALS!!

PHOTOS

Saturday April 24, 2021

SEAL WALK

An Atlantic gray seal pup and an Atlantic harbor seal juvenilePHOTOS

Sunday May 2, 2021

SEAL WALK

We weren't sure if the seals were still around. From a great distance, we saw an Atlantic gray seal pup move into the water. Slowly,as we walked to our viewing area (600 feet from the sand bar), we found that the seal had returned. Later it would ultimately be joined by 3 other Atlantic gray seal pups and 2 Atlantic harbor seal juveniles. Patience and quite observation led to our success.

PHOTOS

2020 Whale Watch Naturalist's 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
  • 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 trip
  • 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 seen whales on our last 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 the 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 inshore bottlenose
  • 1 Great Shearwater
  • 1 Sooty Shearwater
  • 2 Cory's Shearwaters
  • PHOTOS from the 8/26/2020 trip available here
  •  
  • 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 trip available to view and can be purchased via this link
  •  
  • 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 available to view and can be purchased via this link
  • Sunday September 6, 2020

  • Oh my, 60 bottlenose dolphins  and 9 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 the eyes of 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 not directly in front of us. We wish we had more time.  We will try again on Saturday September 12,2020 
  • 4 photographed and 5 others seen
  • 60 NW Atlantic Norther Migratory (AKA inshore) Common bottlenose dolphins
  • 2 Cory's Shearwaters
  • 1 Great Shearwater
  • PHOTOS from the 9/06/2020 trip available to view and can be purchased via this link
  •  
  • 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 trip available to view and can be purchased via this link


2019-2020 Seal walks


  • Date
  • Status
  • Type of trip
  • Saturday, November 23, 2019
  • 5 Harbor seals swimming
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  • Saturday, December 7,  2019
  • 90 harbor seals hauled-out on main sandbar, including some old-timers back for their 16th year
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL WALK
  • Sunday, December 8, 2019
  • 70 seals seen at 8:30 AM were spooked off the haulout by a slow moving vessel within 2 minutes.  By the time we arrived at 10:00 only about 10 were seen swimming
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL WALK
  • Monday, December 17, 2019
  • 96 harbor seals hauled-out on main sandbar,
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  • Saturday, December 21, 2019
  • 103 seals were hauled out on the main sandbar during an early monitoring session, but once again had been spooked off the haulout while we were away.  When we arrived at 10:00 only 8 hauled out rocks. PHOTOS UNAVAILABLE
  • SEAL WALK
  • Sunday, December 22, 2019
  • 113 harbor seals were hauled out on the main sandbar during our early monitoring session. Unbelievably, yet again, they had been flushed from the haulout by the time we returned 2 hours later.
  • Surprisingly, we found 30 seals hauled out on a distant sandbar northeast of the usual haulout (secondary haul-out site).  With patience, we were ultimately watch 30 additional harbor seals haul back onto the main haulout site!
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL WALK
  • Tuesday, December 24, 2019
  • 127 harbor seals were hauled out on the main sandbar
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  • Sunday, January 05, 2020
  • 102 harbor seals were hauled out on the main sandbar
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL WALK
  • Friday, January 10, 2020
  • 25 harbor seals hauled out on their secondary region of the sandbar, utilized when disturbed from the main area
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  • Sunday, January 12, 2020
  • 73 harbor seals (70 on seals were hauled out on the main sandbar and 3 on rocks)
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  • Saturday, January 18, 2020
  • 87 harbor seals (78 on seals were hauled out on the main sandbar and 9 on rocks)
  • PHOTOS
  •  
  • Sunday, January 19, 2020
  • 64 harbor seals (61 on main sandbar and 3 on rocks)
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL WALK
  • Wednesday, January 22, 2020
  • 137 harbor seals (130 on main sandbar and 7 on rocks)
  • Prior to a seal walk for the Saxon Middle School of Patchogue, @DrArtieK photographed and took video of 137 harbor seals hauled out (130 on the sandbar and 7 on the rocks) at Cupsogue. With the school group, we stopped at the newer parking area just to get a glimpse of the seals from a distance. We watched in disbelief as an airplane (C-FBKB of Kenn Borek Air Limited) flew over the seals and spooked all into the water. The plane continued to fly over the area repeatedly and we were able to get clear photos to send to the authorities
  • PHOTOS AND VIDEO
  • SEAL WALK FOR SAXTON MIDDLE SCHOOL (PATCHOGUE)
  • Friday, January 24, 2020
  • 17 harbor seals (12 on rocks and 5 in water)
  • Prior to this seal monitoring session, @DrArtieK noticed a guy in a wet-suit eastward down the road to the parking with his dog (light colored lab). Dr. K. had a bad feeling that the seals were gone. The man got in his car and drove down to the area where we take people to view seals, he loaded his paddleboard and drove past. Of course the seals were not on the sandbar and about 12 were on the rocks with about another 5 swimming. Dr. K. didn’t see him spook the seals, but knew he had done so (he's done it repeatedly).
  • Harassment is defined by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) essentially as any action that causes a marine mammal to significantly alter its behavior. Folks, if you ever see someone purposefully or regularly causing harassment, please try to capture it on video and contact me (ahkopelman@cresli.org). I will share with you the contact information for NOAA Fisheries and NYSDEC Police enforcement agents.
  • We are so lucky to live in a place where we have 19 species of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and 5 species of seals (pinnipeds).
  • Let's share the waters with them in peace.
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  • Sunday, January 26, 2020
  • 105 harbor seals on main sandbar
  •  
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  • Sunday, February 02, 2020
  • 157 harbor seals on main sandbar
  •  
  • PHOTOS and VIDEO
  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  • Saturday, February 08, 2020
  • 31 harbor seals hauled out during a monitoring session prior to the scheduled seal walk.  These seals were exceedingly nervous and most appeared to have recently left the water. The behavior was most-likely the results of prior harassment. 20 harbor seals were hauled-out when we arrived later for the seal walk
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL WALK
  • Sunday, February 09, 2020
  • 60-80 harbor seals hauled out during a monitoring session prior to the scheduled seal walk.  Just before we were ready to document the haulout with photos, a single-engine propeller plane flew south of the haulout area just over the ocean.  The moment these seals heard this plane in the distance, all of them jumped into the water. Once again, this behavior was most-likely the results of prior harassment by the same aircraft.  16 harbor seals retuned to the sandbar 25 minutes later. 1.5 hours later, 6 harbor seals were eventually found swimming near the near-shore rocky haulout area during our seal walk after 25 minutes after we arrived.
  • PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
  • SEAL WALK
  • Monday, February 10, 2020
  • 78 harbor seals on main sandbar
  •  
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  • Wednesday, February 12, 2020
  • 133 harbor seals on main sandbar
  •  
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  • Sunday, February 16, 2020
  • 142 harbor seals on main sandbar
  •  
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL WALK
  • Monday, February 17, 2020
  • 177 seals (176 harbor seals and 1 juvenile gray seal) hauled out during a monitoring session prior to a scheduled seal walk for Stony Brook University MAR395.  Once again, a single-engine propeller plane flew south of the haulout area just over the ocean.  The moment these seals heard this plane AGAIN in the distance, all of them jumped into the water.  
  •  
  • This time we were able to capture the plane's # and though social media were able to find out whom to contact regarding the plane owners and the flying school who's training flights have been causing the seals to flush. We hope that theyv are able to effect changes in where or when they fly.
  •  
  • PHOTOS (before and after)
  • SEAL WALK for Marine Mammals Research Techniques course at Stony Brook Southampton
  • Saturday, February 22, 2020
  • 138 harbor seals hauled out
  •  
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL WALK
  • Sunday, February 23, 2020
  • 110 harbor seals hauled out
  •  
  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL WALK
  • Monday, February 24, 2020
  • 124 seals (123 harbor seals and 1 juvenile gray seal)
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  • PHOTOS
  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  •  Thursday, March 5, 2020
  • 201 seals (200 harbor and 1 juvenile gray) prior to a walk for the Greenport Elementary School 5th grade.
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  • Amazingly there were 218 seals (217 harbor and 1 juvenile gray) when we arrived

  • SEAL WALK FOR GREENPORT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 5TH GRADE
  •  Saturday, March 7, 2020
  • 30 harbor seals 
  • Wild, windy, and high water levels 

  •  SEAL WALK
  •  Sunday, March 8, 2020
  • 182 seals hauled out (1 gray seal and 181 harbor seals) prior and during our seal walk. Once again, as we watched, a private vessel got too close to the seals and 94 seals were spooked into the water. Come one folks, we can do better.
  • The incident was captured on video and the vessels ID # was sent to the authorities for violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act

  •  SEAL WALK
  •  Sunday, March 16, 2020
  • 30 seals swimming
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  •  SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  •  Sunday, March 18, 2020
  • 192 seals hauled out (1 gray seal and 191 harbor seals). 
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  •  SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  •  Sunday, March 24, 2020
  • 152 seals hauled out (1 gray seal and 151 harbor seals). 
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  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  •  Sunday, March 27, 2020
  • 149 seals hauled out (1 gray seal and 148 harbor seals). 
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  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  •  Saturday, April 4, 2020
  • 104 seals hauled out (1 gray seal on the ocean side and 148 harbor seals on the sandbar). 
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  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  •  Sunday, April 12, 2020
  • 3 harbor seals seals swimming in Moriches Bay and 1 gray seal pup hauled out on the ocean side
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  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  •  Thursday, April 16, 2020
  • 76 seals hauled out: 4 gray seal pups and 70 harbor seals on the sandbar in the bay. On the ocean side, 1 sub-adult gray seal and 1 gray seal pup hauled out
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  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  •  Tuesday, April 28, 2020
  • 8 seals hauled out: 3 gray seal pups and 5 harbor seals on the sandbar in the bay. 
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  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  •  Sunday, May 3, 2020
  • 28 seals hauled out: 3 gray seal pups and 25 harbor seals on the sandbar in the bay. 
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  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION
  •  Sunday, May 7, 2020
  • 25 seals hauled out: 2 gray seal pups and 23 harbor seals on the sandbar in the bay. 
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  • SEAL MONITORING SESSION





  • Seal Cruise Date

  • Status

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  • SATURDAY,  FEBRUARY 29, 2020
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  •  456 gray seals and ~50 harbor seals on the cruise to Plum Island, Great Gull Island, and Little Gull Island
  • PHOTOS
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  • Mean maximum # of seals per sighting Cupsogue 2010-2021
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  • Short-beaked common dolphin

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  • 2019-2020 SEAL SIGHTINGS AT CUPSOGUE

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  •  Seal Walk Registration is required, go to https://forms.gle/28ArTe9YQ6DSWSsU8
  • Massive seal haulout at Cupsogue, February 2, 2020. 157 seals from CRESLI_ Inc. on Vimeo.
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  • SEAL WATCHING CRUISES TO THE PRISTINE AREAS OF PLUM ISLAND, GREAT GULL ISLAND, AND LITTLE GULL ISLAND

  • THE VIKING FLEET AND CRESLI ARE TEAMING UP FOR SOME WONDERFUL WINTER AND SPRING SEAL WATCHING TOURS ABOARD THE FAST AND LUXURIOUS 125 FOOT VIKING SUPERSTAR. WE WILL GO TO THE PRISTINE AREAS OF PLUM ISLAND, GREAT GULL ISLAND, AND LITTLE GULL ISLAND FOR BREATHTAKING VIEWS OF HARBOR SEALS, GRAY SEALS.

  • Reservations are available at https://vikingfleet.com/activities/seal-watching-tours/ 
  •  2019 CRESLI/Viking Fleet whale watching

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  • Best of the 2019 Montauk Whale Watch Photos

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  • 2019 - 95.8% SUCCESS (23 OUT OF 24 TRIPS)
  • 97.67% SUCCESS SINCE JULY 2017 (42 OUT OF 43 TRIPS)!
  • SINCE 2009 - 93.38% SUCCESS RATE IN FINDING CETACEANS (141 OUT OF 151)
  • Join the crew with over 30 years of whale watching experience. Come away with geat memories, great photos and videos, and an education about whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and marine life that is second-to-none.
  • 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 Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from July 3, 2019 - August 28, 2019
  • The fare for these trips is $75 for adults, $49 for children 5-12y/o, FREE for Children under 5y/o



  •  DATE/REPORT

  • We started out just where we left off, still finding cetaceans on every trip - ~70 short-beaked common dolphins.
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  • What a gorgeous day to be on the water. While it took sometime before we found interesting animals, we did indeed find all kinds of critters. A small basking shark was our first aquatic vertebrate and the first seen by many of our passengers. Shortly thereafter we found a small ocean sunfish that gave us great views of its swimming and jumping capability. A short while later we found our first aggregation of 
  • about 30-40 short beaked common dolphins. This group was loaded with lots of, you guessed it, small dolphins. moms with calves and loads of juveniles. 
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  • Many of the adult dolphins were engaged in mating, a rare sight for most people. Perhaps that's why the young ones were all together. Our second aggregation of 30 dolphins were similarly "engaged." We also were able to find Wilson's storm petrels, Great shearwaters, Cory's shearwaters, Sooty shearwaters, and Manx shearwaters
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  • 70 Short-beaked common dolphins
  • 1 Basking shark
  • 1 Ocean sunfish
  • 25 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 15 Great shearwaters
  • 2 Manx shearwaters
  • 1 Sooty shearwater
  • 1 Cory's shearwater
  • PHOTOS
  •  Friday, July 5, 2019

  • Today's Viking Fleet/CRESLI Whale watch started off with a dramatic fog bank that sweep over our boat as we were leaving the Montauk area. The thick fog soon fell away and we progressed through calm seas and sunny blue skies for the rest of the day.
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  • After reaching a point about 12 miles from Montauk point we encountered the first of the Minke whales. They were apparently feeding on the thick schools of small fish below us. The adults and children aboard got many looks at these small baleen whales as they spent time around the boat. We continued along at a leisurely pace and stopped several times as we encountered several small groups that day, for a total of 12 whales seen. 
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  • Many small seabirds, Wilson's Storm Petrels, where dipping into the seas around us for food too. A sharp-eyed passenger also spotted a young Loggerhead sea turtle alongside the boat.
  • 12 Minke whales 
  • 1 Loggerhead sea turtle 
  • 25 Wilson Storm Petrels
  • 1 Great shearwater
  • PHOTOS
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  • What a special day we had – our first humpbacks of the season. The day was sunny, breezy, and chilly enough in the shade to make most of us wear sweatshirts, in other words a welcomed relief from the heat and humidity. We heard reports of whales off the Nappeague stretch, as well as further offshore. The NE winds helped us decide to head westward and we found whales off Ditch Plains. We first encountered a really small humpback, perhaps a calf or yearling. It was busy with searching for food on extremely long submersions. Later a larger humpback appeared and we stayed with it long enough to get excellent fluke shots and see some typical humpback behaviors. As we followed this whale to eastward for several miles, while doing so we had a brief encounter with a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle and an ocean sunfish. A nice day in every way!
  • 2 Humpback whales
  • 1 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle
     
  • 1 ocean sunfish
  • PHOTOS

  • We left on a warm afternoon, looking forward to relief from the heat and to find whales. Both were accomplished. As soon as we got past Montauk lighthouse, we felt relief from the stifling heat on land. We had reports of whales inshore around Montauk and Cap’t. Dave saw a whale in the morning right where we had seen one on Sunday. The hazy fog and limited visibility made our task difficult. We eventually decided to head offshore into areas with more visibility.  There we were able to find our 1st fin whale of 2019, a young (no more than 40’ long)  and hungry one.
  • It was spending 9-13 minutes down feeding at 60-80 feet beneath the surface.  We got great views and stayed with this whale until it was time to head back in.  we came back late, but it was worth it.
  • 1 fin whale
  • 1 ocean sunfish

    2 Cory's shearwaters
  • 20 Wilson’s storm petrels
  • 1 Great shearwater
  • PHOTOS

  • We left Montauk harbor today with beautiful blue skies and good visibility to search for whales and had just enough of a swell to give the passengers an exciting "ride". We cruised along the south shore of Montauk and enjoyed great views of the bluffs and hills. As usual we saw some pelagic seabirds, either skimming the waters or diving for fish and although we were several miles offshore we also had many butterflies fly past the ship.
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  • We then came upon a Minke whale, about 5 miles south of Montauk town. It surfaced several times in a few locations around the boat. Since there were patches of small fish under the ship we assume it was actively feeding. After leaving that whale we continued to cruise towards the southeast towards where we had recently seen whales, but had no luck with for the rest of this day.
  • Totals:
  • 1 minke whale
  • 1 ocean sunfish
  • 10 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 4 Great shearwater
  • 4 Cory's shearwaters
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  • PHOTOS

  • Our first multiple humpback trip. Once again, we escaped the heat on land to find whales in water that was comfortably in the mid to upper 60's. We began looking as soon as we traveled past Montauk light. Within a few minutes we found our first of 4 humpbacks. This one was intent on long feeding fives of prey near the surface and traveling due east without changing course. We got some nice views and ID photos and headed west to find more. Did we ever.
  • We found one humpback lunge-feeding on bunker (Atlantic menhaden) with an occasional breach thrown in, as usual - spectacular to observe and hard to capture. We stayed with this animal for quite some time. This humpback was oblivious to us and once lunge-fed within a foot or two of our port bow.
  • Eventually we needed to head back, but were stopped when we encountered 2 humpbacks logging (resting at the surface) together. At first, from afar we thought it might be a mom and calf, but these animals were almost the same size (one just slightly larger) - so not a cow/calf pair, but clearly an associated pair. One of the pair rolled over and flipper slapped for a bit. What a great trip - so many typical humpback behaviors, and so many people on board who had never seen a whale, let along 4 humpback whales, a blue shark, and an ocean sunfish.
  • Totals:
  • 4 humpback whales
  • 1 blue shark
  • 1 ocean sunfish
  • 2 Wilson's storm petrels
  • PHOTOS

  • Well, it was bound to happen. After 29 consecutive trips with whales or dolphins since July 2017, we were unable to find them today. The haze and occasional limited visibility made it difficult to spot then from a distance. We covered 45 nautical miles in our search but no whales or dolphins. There was bait, bunker, and a few pelagic birds, even an unidentified shark, and an ocean sunfish, but no cetaceans. We will try again on Friday 7/19/19.
  • One plus was the cool sea surface temperatures that kept us in sweatshirts, while folks were sweltering on land. Another plus was seeing a submarine heading out to sea.
  • Totals:
  • 1 unidentified shark
  • 1 ocean sunfish
  • 11 Wilson's storm petrels

  • We are back on track! Found bottlenose dolphins and fin whales!!
  • Today we left Montauk with clearing skies and a cool breeze. We traveled south and within an hour saw some splashes in front of us. This turned out to be a group of dolphins. These were the first bottlenose dolphins we have seen this year and they crossed right in front of our bow. The group stayed very tightly together as they moved around the boat, sometimes "porpoising" out of the water. We stayed with them for some time before moving onward.
  • After another 45 minutes we spotted our first whale; a large fin whale. Fin whales are the second largest of the whales and second largest animal on the planet. We watched it as it continually dove down (we assume to feed on the thick bands of small baitfish under the boat) and surfaced with that long conical blow so characteristic of fin whales.
  • We had a birding group with us today and we were pleased they were able to see several pelagic bird species that can only be seen at sea, including 3 different shearwater species gliding along just above the waves.
  • After proceeding south from Montauk we came upon 2 more fin whales, again feeding through thick bands of baitfish, about 50 feet below the surface. We finished our day cruising back along the south shore, close in to the cliffs and bluffs, before rounding the point and returning to Montauk.
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  • Totals:
  • 5 bottlenose dolphins
  • 3 finback whales 
  • 12 Wilson's storm petrels
  • 2 Great shearwaters
  • 4 Cory's shearwaters
  • 1 Sooty shearwater
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  • PHOTOS

  • Once again we headed out to find whales, and as soon as we got past Montauk Lighthouse and onto the Atlantic Ocean, we were out of the heat! Sea surface temperatures were in the upper 60’s, a welcome relief. 
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  • We headed west towards where humpbacks had been for the past few days and in a short while found one. This 40’ (-13 m) whale, probably weighed 45,000 lbs (-20 metric tons), and was logging (resting at the surface) just as it had done one week earlier. We spent some time with this whale be heading further west. At the Napeague Stretch, we headed offshore for a few miles, then began heading eastward. We saw a whale a few miles ahead, got up to it; it was the same whale we’d seen logging. Not logging now! This whale was doing “tail throws.” Over and over, we lost count at about 15 times. What an amazing site for all of us. We eventually left the whale and headed home.
  • Totals:
  • 1 humpback whale
  • Herring Gulls
  • Great Black-backed Gulls
  • Common terns
  • ~30 plovers (unknown species) in 2 groups flying southwest about 2 miles from shore
  • PHOTOS

  • When we start our whale watch trip with unlimited visibility on sunny dry afternoon, we have great expectations. We hadn’t even gotten past the Lighthouse when we found a massive aggregation of inshore bottlenose dolphins – over 100! We watched and followed as they were chasing their prey, driving them into tight circles and then diving. Adults, juveniles, and new born calves were all around us. What a beautiful sight.
  • We left them to continue their journey and ours, and headed towards where we had been seeing humpbacks whales for the past few weeks. We found a good sized humpback and stayed with it, observed it, photographed its dorsal fin and flukes for ID purposes. We were in neutral and ready to leave but the whale had other plans, it decided to swim right up next to us, along the port sight, then under us, and come back on the starboard side. Needless to say, we couldn’t move until the whale moved away. Nobody complained.
  • We headed a bit further offshore and began to encounter pelagic birds, rafts of Cory’s shearwaters, a few Great shearwaters, and a few aggregations of Wilson’s storm petrels too. Shortly thereafter we found a pair of whales swimming together. As we found a few weeks ago, these whales, staying right next to each other were not mom and calf, as you might expect, but of similar size (about 36 feet (11 meters). We were able to stay with them for quite some time and got great photos, videos, and recollections. Again, almost nobody on board had seen whales or dolphins before and were just as happy as can be.
  • Totals:
  • 115 Bottlenose dolphins
  • 3 humpback whales
  • 25 Cory’s shearwaters
  • 2 Great shearwaters
  • 10 Wilson’s storm petrels
  • 1 immature Northern gannet
  • PHOTOS

  • Today's CRESLI/Viking Fleet whale watch left Montauk Harbor with clear blue skies and calm seas. Cruising for less than an hour southeast of Montauk we came upon 2 groups of dolphins. There were about 15 bottlenose dolphins all told and we watched them for 45 minutes as they socialized around the boat. These dolphins all were side by side as they put on an energetic display. They were splashing, spy-hopping, "lob-tailing" and did back flips in the water. Their behavior was all about social bonding and perhaps establishing dominance within the group. Our passengers took some great photos of the dolphins with the cliffs of Montauk in the background.
  • We decided to move on and went further offshore. We continued to pass many "baitballs" of small fish the whales like to eat; menhaden at the surface, being pursued by larger fish. Losing sight of land we came upon 2 whales of 2 different species. Both a minke whale and a fin whale were feeding in the area. At first they were hard to follow as they came up for a quick breath and immediately went down to feed on the very thick schools of small fish. We were patient and were rewarded with some good looks at the fin whale. About 50 feet long, it began to stay on the surface and moved slowly along as it performed a series of several blows. We watched it for several of these series fairly close. The whale finally came up very close and headed directly for our boat. It was right at our stern when it made a final blow that rose above us and then dove underneath the boat for a spectacular "final good-bye"!
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  • Totals 
  • 15 Bottlenose Dolphins
  • 1 Fin Whale
  • 1 Minke whale
  • 1 Ocean Sunfish
  • 5 Wilson Storm Petrels
  • 30 Common Terns
  • 20 Black Backed Gull
  • PHOTOS

  • We had a long trip today with a sold out boat. We escaped the heat right away as we turned east at the jetty. Found 2 small groups of Bottlenose dolphins and a small ocean sunfish just west of the Lighthouse. We search nearshore and offshore, didn’t find much else until we began to get head back toward Montauk. At 6:30 we saw something flash off in the distance and the blow of a humpback about 2 miles ahead of us. It was doing inverted lob-tailing, partial breaching, tails throws, etc. and as we got closer a small fishing boat ran super-fast right to the whale, stopped way too close. The whale reacted by diving and tail-throwing once – then took off to the southwest, with 5-6 minute down times and just surfacing a few blows each time and heading away. Had that vessel not harassed the whale, it would have continued its behaviors. It was spectacular to see this active whale, but to see it chased down by those jerks in the small boat was upsetting to all. All-in-all, a long but successful trip. Even though we got back at 8:10 PM, people loved it. BOATERS, REMEMBER TO NEVER CHASE DOWN WHALES! GIVE WHALES THEIR SPACE!
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  • Totals 
  • 10 Bottlenose Dolphins
  • 1 Humpback Whale
  • 1 Ocean Sunfish
  • 3 Wilson Storm Petrels
  • 1 Great Shearwater
  • Common Terns
  • Great Black-Backed Gulls
  • Herring Gulls
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  • PHOTOS

  • Once again, we left the sweltering heat and cooled off almost immediately after leaving the harbor (sea surface temperatures have been in the upper 60's to low 70's for a while). We headed towards an area where dolphins had been seen earlier, but they had move on, as nomadic dolphins almost always do. We then headed off towards one of our known whale feeding areas, and there we encountered 2 large humpbacks swimming, diving, and obviously feeding together, we also see a small pod of bottlenose dolphins. We see a third humpback. The 3rd whale heads North and we stay with the pair. Their prey are in bands from the surface to 50' below, and they're spending feeding below and occasionally defecating at the surface. One of the whales is a known whale from the Gulf of Maine, Komodo, the 2007 calf of Rune, the other remains to be identified. We headed in search of the 3rd humpback but were unsuccessful but eventually found a minke whale, just before heading back to the dock. An amazing time for everyone.
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  • Totals 
  • 15 Bottlenose Dolphins
  • 3 Humpback Whales
  • 1 Minke Whale
  • 5 Wilson Storm Petrels
  • PHOTOS

  • What do you get when you have unlimited visibility, flat seas, and good eyes? Lots of whales. Shortly after heading out past the Lighthouse, we spot our first whale, a minke whale. They are relative small baleen whales and this one was not only small, but also entangled in fishing gear. The gear was loosely wrapped, but still obviously having an effect. The Coast Guard was notified, they in turn notified the Center for Coastal Studies
  • Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team. CRESLI sent photos and all folks are asked to keep an eye out (seehttps://drartiek-cresli.smugmug.com/CRESLI-2019-Whale-Watches/2019-08-04-Montauk-Whale-Watch/i-VsXTmxz/A for a photo). All too sad to see, but we were glad to help.
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  • We continued on our way and found our first of 5 humpbacks about 30 minutes later. We began to see blows in many directions and were ultimately able get close to photograph others. Very nice to see our first mom and calf of this summer. As the day progressed were saw more, including the same tail-throwing whale that we’d seen on 7/14 and 7/21, and it threw its tail once this trip too. The whales were busy eating and we were able to get a quick glimpse of a fast moving finback and another minke. When we headed back in, we looked behind us and found blows all over – I guess we know where to go on Wednesday
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  • Totals:
  • 2 Minke Whales
  • 1 Finback Whale
  • 5 Humpback Whales
  • 5 Wilson’s Storm Petrels
  • 1 Immature Northern Gannet
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  • PHOTOS

  • Another beautiful day on the water with whales, what more can you want? Our minkes were “stinky” and avoided being photographed, but were seen none-the-less. Our humpbacks showed us most of their repertoire of aerial behaviors. Our first pair of humpbacks included one whale (MN.CRESLI.2019.07.14-04) that’s been seen by us for the past 4 weeks, each time in close association (swimming synchronously and within a body width of the other whale) with a different humpback. Interesting! At one point MN.CRESLI.2019.07.14-04 and MN.CRESLI.2019.08.07-01 breached together, not 100’ in front of us, and a few seconds later, MN.CRESLI.2019.08.07-01 breached by itself. WOW. We left those whales and traveled our searching pattern, finding whales a few miles away- another pair? Yes, but - there’s MN.CRESLI.2019.08.07-02 with MN.CRESLI.2019.07.14-04. Incredible – another associated pair that includes MN.CRESLI.2019.07.14-04. That’s some gregarious whale.
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  • Totals:
  • 3 Humpback whales
  • 2 Minke whales
  • 2 Great Shearwaters
  • 1 Mature Northern Gannet
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  • PHOTOS

  • The CRESLI/Viking Fleet whale watch left Montauk on a beautiful day with blue skies and unlimited viability. We were only a mile south of the lighthouse when we saw our first blow and came upon our first whale. It was a young humpback whale and we followed it for almost an hour as it remained in the area. The passengers got some nice photos of the whale with the cliffs of Montauk in the background.
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  • Our vessel, the Viking Starship, then proceeded to the west along the coast and then turned south, away from Long Island. We started to see many schools of bait fish at the surface- just what our whales are looking to find. After a short cruise we suddenly came upon 2 whales and a pod of dolphins. The dolphins were bottlenose and the whales were more humpbacks. The pod of 8 dolphins was moving around the area with speed and sometimes leaping from the water. One of the whales did some tail slapping which made large splashes and was probably done to make a sound to communicate with others.
  • We spent a couple of hours in the area and were treated to many "down dives" with one humpback showing us its flukes and letting us take some great identification photos for our research. One whale also lifted its head up out of the water for a nice view.
  • As we started to make our way back to harbor we saw another pod of bottlenose dolphins, about 10 this time, and we watched them too. This group had several very young animals and they were also tail slapping in unison. Sadly our time at sea was up and we had to leave the dolphins and head back to Montauk.
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  • Totals:
  • 3 Humpback Whales
  • 18 Bottlenose Dolphins
  • 2 Great Shearwaters
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  • PHOTOS

  • A little sea mist on the horizon had everyone on board the Viking Starship becoming a spotter. Captain Dave began his search East of Montauk and we were soon rewarded with a large Finback whale feeding. A beautiful cone-shaped blow and the incredible power of this marine mammal enchanted everyone on board. Next we found a 2 Humpback whales feeding and got a fabulous tail wave. This is a whale we have seen before. We also managed to see a Blue Shark that was feeding near the Humpback whales. As we continued our search we were able to see a few Minke whales nearer the Montauk Lighthouse. We had reports of a cow-calf pair of Minkes, but were unable to confirm. Birds of note today included A Cory's Shearwater and a number of Wilson's Storm Petrels dancing on the waves and surface feeding
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  • PHOTOS

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  • It was a good day for a whale watch with great visibility and clearing skies as the CRESLI/Viking Fleet whale watch left Montauk harbor. After some time we spotted a tall blow in the distance. As we closed we saw it was a fin whale. This lone animal was about 40 feet in length, not large for these whales. It remained in this one area with a regular series of 4 surface breaths and then dives down, most likely to feed on the small fish our sonar saw close to the bottom. We got some nice looks at this animal as we stayed with it for some time. After continuing our search we discovered another species of whale, a young humpback. It was swimming slowly at the surface, sometimes "logging", and we all got some nice looks. As we continued on our search we saw a breach in the distance as a whale leapt from the water and so the boat went to investigate. This turned out to be a Minke whale, the smallest of the rorqual whales. After another trip where we hit the 3 species "whale trifecta" we headed back to harbor.
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  • Totals
  • 1 Humpback Whale
  • 1 Minke Whale
  • 1 Fin Whale
  • 13 Wilson Storm Petrels
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  • PHOTOS

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  • We left Montauk today with clearing skies and very calm seas. There was a report of a humpback whale a short distance from Montauk Point and we went looking for that whale first. After 30 minutes it proved easy to see as the humpback was breaching in the distance and creating huge white splashes of water. We approached this young animal and were treated to several bouts of breaching. It lunged its entire body length out of the water over and over - for a remarkable 30 plus breaches. In between breaching (and delighting the passengers) the whale stayed lounging on the surface and continually "flipper-slapped" the water, creating a sharp "crack" sound with each hit. 
  • After spending some time with this charismatic whale we continued our journey and spotted a minke whale close in front of our boat. We came upon a few other humpback whales, one after the other, saw another breach, and spent some time with those whales.
  • Suddenly 2 bottlenose dolphins swam up to the boat, with one leaping or "porpoising" out of the water. We were running out of time, after such a full day, and headed back to Montauk, with a brief look at yet another humpback whale along the way.
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  • Totals
  • 4 Humpback Whales
  • 2 Minke Whales
  • 2 Bottlenose Dolphins
  • 1 Sooty Shearwater
  • 1 Wilson Storm Petrel
  • 3 Greater Shearwaters
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  • PHOTOS

  • What can you say about a trip where we saw 11 humpback whales, 2 other whale species and dolphins!
  • The trip started with cloudy skies and great visibility. We spotted whales agin within an hour of leaving Montauk and then usually had more than one in sight all day. Cruising southeast of Montauk we spotted the blows of humpback whales and watched them making short dives in shallow, 50 foot, water to feed on the baitfish below. 
  • One humpback made a spectacular, full body, breach and then thrilled the passengers with some flipper slapping for some time.
  • We continued to see humpbacks throughout the area and then spotted 2 minke whales. One of the minkes popped-up about 10 feet from the boat.
  • A group of about 15 bottlenose dolphins, the inshore type, played around the boat for awhile, to the delight of the children aboard.
  • This day ended with whales all around the boat, humpbacks, a fin whale and a minke. After a humpback treated us to some tail slapping on the surface we were out of time and sadly had to head back home.
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  • Totals
  • 11 Humpback Whales
  • 15 Bottlenose Dolphins
  • 1 Fin Whale
  • 2 Minke Whales
  • 3 Cory Shearwaters
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  • PHOTOS

  • What started out as a cloudy and someone rainy trip turned into a productive day of whale watching. After less than an hour we spotted some big splashes in the distance- there was a whale breaching and flipper slapping. Unfortunately by the time we got to the area, with the overcast background, we were unable to find the whale. We continued on our way and suddenly came upon 2 humpback whales and 18 bottlenose dolphin. There was a lot of surface bait fish and the whales were feeding.The dolphins came into our area in 2s and 3s until there was a big group. They swam around the feeding whales for some time and some passengers got some special pictures with a whale and dolphin in the same photo! They showed us some fun behaviors such as leaping or "porpoising" out of the water. A minke whale joined this group and we got a few quick looks.
  • We continued on and found 2 more humpbacks and more minkes. As we headed back to Montauk several dolphins approached the boat, probably the ones we saw earlier in our trip, coming for one final good-bye.
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  • TOTALS
  • 4 humpback whales
  • 3 minke whales
  • 18 bottlenose dolphins
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  • PHOTOS

  • Today was a sunny , beautiful day as we set out again in search of whales. We only had to round Montauk Point and cruise along the south shore for 40 minutes before seeing our first whale blowing. This turned out to be a humpback whale, in very shallow water (50 feet) making shallow feeding dives. The water was literally teeming with giant schools of bait fish, menhaden, at the surface. The whale was only going down for a bit over 2 minutes as its food was right at the surface.
  • Within a half hour we spotted several other blows and investigated. We watched these other 4 humpbacks feeding on and off for the rest of the afternoon.
  • Looking towards the beach we saw a pair of whales moving very closely together. Captain Dave brought the Viking Starship over to them and we were amazed to see they were fin whales- at one and a half miles from the shore, we had never seen this species so close to shore! This pair of medium whales, about 40 feet long, gave us several good looks as they too were feeding on the surface menhaden. Within the hour we saw quite a few other whales, more fins, humpbacks and a couple of minke whales.
  • The children aboard kept yelling with delight as whales surfaced over and over around the boat. We were running out of time when a humpback whale, as if to wave "good-bye", did a "down dive" and put its tail fluke up in the air before disappearing again.
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  • Totals
  • 7 humpbacks
  • 5 fin whales
  • 1 minke whale
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  • PHOTOS

  • Great trip today started with a humpback whale 15 minutes past the lighthouse. Spotted two identified whales while watching this humpback. After leaving humpback whale we came across 2 Finback whales. Approximately 12 bottlenose dolphins joined the two Finback whales for a brief time. After leaving the Finback whales we came across our second humpback whale fluking several times. This whale also gave us some flipper slapping which everyone enjoyed. We continued our search for more marine life to find blows off in the distance from to different whales. Unfortunately unable to identify the whales as they disappeared as we approached.
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  • Totals: 
  • 2 Humpback Whales
  • 2 Finback whales
  • 4 unidentified whales 
  • 12 bottlenose dolphins
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  • PHOTOS

  • Best of the 2019 Montauk Whale Watch Photos

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  • CRESLI/Viking Fleet 2019 Whale Watch Reports

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  • Wednesday July 3, 2019

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  • Basking shark, Ocean sunfish, and dolphins!

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  • A Big Minke Day

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  • Sunday, July 7, 2019

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  • Humpback whales, Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, and ocean sunfish!

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  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019

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  • Finback whale! 1st of this season, and another ocean sunfish

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  • Friday, July 12, 2019

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  • Minke Whale on a Beautiful Day

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  • Sunday, July 14, 2019

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  • Humpbacks Galore! Lunge-feeding, breaching, flipper slapping, and more

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  • Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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  • Friday, July 19, 2019

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  • Back with the Whales!

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  • Sunday, July 21, 2019

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  • Humpback action!

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  • Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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  • 100 bottlenose dolphins to start, humpback and more bottlenose to end!

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  • Friday, July 26, 2019

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  • Bottlenose dolphins, Minke whale, and Finback whale!

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  • Sunday, July, 28, 2019

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  • Bottlenose dolphins to start; humpback to end

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  • Wednesday, July, 31, 2019

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  • 3 Humpbacks, pod of bottlenose dolphins, and a minke whale!!

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  • Sunday, August 4, 2019

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  • Whale Trifecta! 2 Minke whales, 5 humpback whales (including a mom and calf), and a finback whale! 8 whales in all!

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  • Wednesday, August 07, 2019

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  • Breaching Humpbacks, Minkes, and a few Great shearwaters and a mature Northern gannet!

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  • Friday August 9, 2019

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  • Whales and Dolphins Too... Again!

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  • Wednesday, August 14, 2019

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  • Finback whales and humpback whales

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  • Friday, August 16, 2019

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  • A Humpback, a Minke and a Fin Whale...

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  • Sunday, August 18, 2019

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  • Spectacular Humpback Whale Breaching

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  • Friday, August 23, 2019

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  • A Spectacular Day with the Whales

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  • Wednesday, August 28, 2019

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  • Whales Close to Montauk

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  • Friday, August 30, 2019

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  • A Beautiful Day with Whales all Around

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  • Sunday, September 1, 2019

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  • Great way to end our season!

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  •  Humpback whale  - Unknown 2018-01
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