Friday, June 24

June 26th, 2016

The last two days, on Stellwagen Bank, have been nothing short of phenomenal. We’ve had four species of whales (fin whales, minke whales, sei whales, and more humpback whales than we could count). The prey species seems to have shifted to sand lance in the last week or so, we know this because we could see it jumping out of the whales’ mouths as they were feeding! We have finally started to see some of the humpbacks that I consider “old regulars”, and some not so regulars, including…Apostrophe, Cardhu, Chablis, Cajun, Draco, Erosion, Fern, Flounder, Habenero, Nazca, Owl, Nimbus, Pogo, Tear, Underline. We were also happy to see some new mother’s including Etch-a-sketch, Terrace, and Entropy.

June 22, 2016

June 23rd, 2016

What a day on the bank! There is so much life out there, everywhere we looked we could see blows and tails! We had at least 15 humpbacks in the area for our trip today, with a couple minke whales scattered about and a fin whale also hanging around in the distance. Humpbacks identified were Tear, Fern, Habanero, Cosmos with her new calf, and Fulcrum. There was also a second mom and calf pair that we got close looks at. Cosmos and her calf were being very active as we approached them, both breaching out of the water. As we got closer, the calf continued breaching while Cosmos did some belly-up lobtailing! We also saw tons of feeding activity with whales lunging up with giant mouthfuls of fish and water over and over again. Some of the whales were also kick-feeding, slapping their tails on the water before going down and corralling prey. Tear was being pretty active, showing us just how massive humpback whale pectoral flippers are with some flipper slapping! Thank you to all of our passengers, including a school group, who joined us today – you certainly picked a wonderful day for whale watching!

June 21, 2016

June 21st, 2016

Happy Summer!!  Today is the first full day of summer and the whales appeared to be celebrating.  Our trip to Stellwagen Bank was a bit rocky, but once we found the whales (thanks to a little help from our friends on FV Foxy Lady), the seas simmered down and the whales were pretty amazing!  We had at least a dozen humpback whales feeding near us, and probably another dozen on the periphery. Lots of bubble nets, kick-feeding, open mouths, and of course lots of birds too! Even a minke whale was getting in on the action! I hope this is just the start to an incredible summer!

June 19, 2016

June 21st, 2016

On our morning trip, we first spent time with a beautiful pair of fin whales who surfaced right alongside our port side. We saw other blows in the area and continued on to find a pair of humpback whales! Some passengers saw that they were breaching in the distance as we made our way over to them, but as soon as we caught up to them they mellowed out. We still got wonderful looks at the pair as they scooted around the boat. There were also blows from another fin whale and two other humpback whales in the area that we unfortunately didn’t get to look closely at. However, it is a great sign when there are multiple blows all around!

Our afternoon trip was unfortunately much rougher than the marine forecast had predicted. For the sake of passenger safety and comfort, we made the decision to turn back early. We hope you will come join us on another day where mother nature allows us to get out and show you some whales!

June 18, 2016

June 21st, 2016

Finally, it feels like summer has begun on Stellwagen Bank! For the last week we have been witnessing an increase in, visible, bait, birds, and whales. However, we still had not seen an abundance of humpbacks (aside from our ever reliable Hancock and Shuffleboard), until Saturday. Our morning trip had five humpbacks, including Milkyway and calf. But, we could see loads of humpbacks further to the east of us. In the afternoon we went back to roughly the same area, and had a whole new set of humpbacks that we didn’t see in the morning. It was nice to see some of our “regular” Stellwagen whales, like Anvil and Cardhu, I had been missing them so far this season!

Friday, June 17, 2016

June 17th, 2016

Today we found humpback whale named Ravine and her newest calf! The calf was pretty cute, coming up close by and rolling a  bit at the surface. Also saw a cool fin whale!! Great day!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

June 16th, 2016

Glassy seas greeted us on Stellwagen Bank this morning, in addition to yellow bands of thick pollen that ran for miles. The density of baitfish has continued to accumulate, and the fish finder showed schools stretching from the surface to the sea floor. Another four species day for us on the Miss Cape Ann (if you are only counting charismatic megafauna and ignoring all the fish and birds) minkes, fins, humpbacks, and more basking sharks. Shuffleboard and Hancock seem to be the official exemplars for the humpback population on Stellwagen thus far this season.

Wed, June 15, 2016

June 16th, 2016

Today was a beautiful day to go on a whale watch. The weather was clear, pleasantly cool, and the sunshine felt wonderful. In addition, Stellwagen has really started to come to life. Over the last week there has been a noticeable increase in birds, bait, and best of all, whales! The calm seas made for great viewing of the humpbacks beneath the surface. Hancock and Shuffleboard both spent time feeding and coming close to the boat. There have also been a number of basking shark sightings on the bank over the last week, and today was no different. Basking sharks are the second largest fish (after the whale shark), and one of three plankton eating fish. And, I haven’t even mentioned the eight minke whales, and 10 fin whales that were in the area, as well.

Get into your Sanctuary

June 15th, 2016

Stellwagen Bank is so very important to Capt. Bill’s and all the whale watch companies off the New England coast.  We are very pleased that NOAA is having its annual “Get Into Your Sanctuary”  celebration on June 25-27th!  The celebration will help spread awareness of the importance of National Marine Sanctuaries nationwide.  AND there are many different ways you can celebrate with us! Check out the flyer and website for more information.

GIYS and Photo Contest Info

One very cool way that we can help you get involved is with the Get into your Sanctuary photo contest! Do you have some GREAT pictures you took out on our whale watch on Stellwagen Bank? If so, YOU could enter them into the photo contest for a chance to win best photograph! Photo contest rules can be found here. Entries can be sent to earthisblue@noaa.gov

Friday, June 10, 2016

June 10th, 2016

Today was beautiful day on the water with plenty of visibility and calm seas. We did quite a bit of traveling today, but it certainly paid off as we were treated to some fantastic sightings! We started off the trip with a feeding humpback whale named Shuffleboard. Shuffleboard was busy corralling prey and blowing a few bubble clouds, often coming up with a huge mouthful of water and fish! She wasn’t staying under the water for long at all and we were able to get many good looks.

We saw a few more blows in the area and continued on to see a gorgeous fin whale. This fin whale was very cooperative, approaching close to the boat and letting us all appreciate just how massive they are! We could clearly see that striking white jaw under the surface as well. As we started making our way back home, we could see a couple of different blows all around us from a few different humpback and fin whales in the area.

Naturalist Allison