RISSO'S DOLPHINS! On the CRESLI Great South Channel Trip

August 14, 2017  •  1 Comment

I had the pleasure of going out on one of the CRESLI bi-yearly trips run by Artie Kopelman to the great south channel, August 13th to the 15th. GSC is a deep channel at the southern end of the Gulf of Maine. GSC’s location is between Georges Bank, Nantucket Shoals and where we went was off the shores of Chatham Massachusetts. It’s a major feeding area for many marine mammals, fish, shark and sea birds. Its an exciting adventure for me because I never travel outside of the NY Bight to see humpbacks and I mostly say in the sights of NYC.

I woke up early, 4:45am before astronomical dawn and grabbed a cold cup of coffee from the pot thats been there from the night before. I readied my camera gear for a day of photographing what would be seen. I went to the bow of the boat with a cold cup of Joe and a few cameras and what I saw and smelt was awesome. A Flat, glassy ocean, the sun was not even up on the horizon, just a yellow sky no clouds. Splashes all around the boat and the smell of Humpback whale breath just hung in the air.

The splashes got closer, the few that were up on deck saw what was making those splashes, Dolphins. Not your regular everyday bottlenose dolphins but funky looking dolphins. I am shooting away and they are giving us a show, breaching all over, mom’s with their calves and they coming close to the boat. I still have no idea what kind of dolphin’s these are. Someone literally screams, as loud as someone can at 530am RISSO’S!!! Instantly, I am thinking “who is Rizzo, he or she better get their ass out of bed and get upside quick”. Then another person scream RISSO’S I can’t believe it, RISSO'S DOLPHINS, I always wanted to see them! OK, I am with the program now, the "dolphins" are called "Rizzo’s Dolphins", got it. I never seen them before, I never heard of them before but apparently this is a big deal and I love it! Artie K, get on the horn and say's this is the first time Risso’s Dolphins were seen on a CRESLI trip. NOW I get why people are freaking out and am very happy to be part of the madness.

These Risso's dolphins were big Dolphins 10-12ft but they looked like they have been in some epic battles! There were about 25-50 of them in the pod and they were beat up, markings and bite marks everywhere, some markings looked like Aboriginal Patterns. Some had deep open wounds and one must have gone after baited fishing gear and was hooked up and released because it had a leader coning from its mouth.

The sun broke the horizon and gave us who were up amazing lighting for a few shots and the encounter was over.

That’s my Risso’s dolphin story, check out the photos.



Ken & Judy(non-registered)
Always learning more from you Artie, thanks for all those early mornings and cold coffee. Great to have you on our island and showing us all the amazing sights to be seen.
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