Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 10th, 2009
The Saturday, September 5, 2009, Sea Serpent & Whale Watch put on by the Bar Harbor Whale Watch company had a huge turnout.
The morning trip involved 149 people, plus crew, and the afternoon saw 359 new folks go out looking for marine animals. People visited my “sea serpent table” to ask questions about cryptids, and I got to talk to people from Maine as well as tourists, from South Korea to Riverside, California. It was heartening to have so many people sincerely care about cryptozoology, including Bigfoot, interestingly, on these watery trips.
Because of the two recent hurricanes (Bill and Danny), the local whales had been pushed out greater distances than usual to sea. Thus both treks went over fifty miles northeast (“downeast,” it’s called around here), up into the Bay of Fundy, beyond Eastport, Maine. We could easily see Nova Scotia from the boat.
I gave talks on both trips about the history of Sea Serpent sightings in the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy. The casual lectures were received well. The afternoon event also had wildlife artist Dick Klyver on board, telling of his interview with a man who encountered a great serpentine cryptid in Frenchman’s Bay in 2003.
Zack Klyver was the main talking host of both zoological tours, and gave good running accounts of all the animal sightings for the entire eight hours I spent on board. Zack knows his species, and the commentary was neither canned nor boring.
During the morning tour, I also got to meet Cryptomundo correspondent MountDesertIslander and his wife, who revealed themselves to be Bill and Rebecca Edmondson. Friendly and good folks with whom to discuss cryptozoological matters, it was wonderful being able to spend time with them.
They have kindly sent along some photos of the morning event for sharing with other Cryptomundians.
Your humble host doing fieldwork at sea, looking for Sea Serpents.
Bill Edmondson considers going undercover with my Cryptomundo hat.
I do my best imitation of a village idiot next to the beautiful Rebecca Edmondson, hoping no one will think less of Cryptomundo for my comedic efforts.
Bill wears the stylish layered Maine look to keep warm, while I honor one of my sons’ baseball teams with fitting outerwear for the whale watch. (Yes, I’m making fun of past Seinfeld-J. Peterman catalogue episodes.)
A break in the action allowed me to autograph a sea serpent field guide.
See the round patch of flat water, slightly to the right of center screen. That’s a whale’s “footprint,” visible when they dive. No joke. The key to seeing the bigger whales, however, is their spray.
See the whale in the photo here? No? Good, this is just birds.
Okay, there is a whale in this photograph and the next one. This is what you see when a single whale is a bit away from the boat (or ship). And we wonder why people don’t report more Sea Serpent sightings?
From the top deck, we were able to see some dolphins, porpoises, sea birds, and tuna during the morning watch. Of course, the highlight was a semi-close encounter with one lone, juvenile, and very shy minke whale.
This is the way the minke looked upon closer inspection. (This is “Minke Whale at the Shiant Islands” by John Maughan.)
In the afternoon, the sightings of the species were closer and more surprisingly.
I’ve been on a dozen whale watching trips, from Hawaii to New England. During this one, there was a species that I (and most of the people on board) had never seen before at sea: the basking shark (which, of course, is the source for many misidentified sea serpent beachings).
During this whale watch, closeup sightings occurred of four 40 ft long basking sharks observed near our boat, all seen individually. Also, one breached, something even the old members of this whale watch crew had not had a chance to ever witness before.
For most people, the whale watch only became a whale watch when we encountered a pod of three friendly humpback whales, who came over to the boat and investigated the craft and people.
Schools of blue tuna, various seabirds, harbor seals, dolphins, and porpoise were viewed too.
Basking shark breaching.
The humpbacks were unafraid of the humans. (“Humpback Whales Iceland” by John Maughan.)
Yes, they were this close.
(The afternoon species are represented above by stock photo examples, which will be replaced with images from the actual trip, if they are forwarded. The morning pictures are supplied by the Edmondsons, and thanks to them for their permission to post them here.)
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