Saturday, Oct 21

October 22nd, 2017

From Naturalist Lauren

What a beautiful and mild autumn day out on the water today! We didn’t have to venture far off shore to see our first pair of humpback whales. These two whales (one of which we believe to be a whale named Bayou) were leisurely hanging out at the surface near our boat while going down on short dives periodically. We even had Bayou show her unique tail while going down on a dive right next to the bow of our boat. What an amazing site to see!

We eventually ventured on when we saw some tail lobbing and flipper slapping in the distance. Unfortunately, these very active whales calmed down by the time we reached them but we were able to find two other whales close by. We were able to get some great looks of this second pair of humpback whales as they surfaced together.

We continued to see more spouts or blows in the distance and so we decided to investigate! We then came across 4 different humpback whales that were paired off (unfortunately my camera died at this point of the trip (oops!) and I was unable to get any photographs of these four). We bounced from one pair of whales to the other as these whales were travelling through our area and going down for 10+ minute dives! After getting some great last looks at one of these pairs, we eventually began travelling back to Gloucester Harbor.

In all, we saw at least 10 humpback whales today out on the water! We wonder what we’ll see next before the whale watching season comes to a close!

October 20, 2017

October 20th, 2017

From Naturalist Dianna

Whales have been amazing lately! Yesterday was a bit tough for us since the whales were spending most of their time underwater, but today was incredible with at least 20 humpback whales just a dozen miles from Gloucester!  We had several groups of humpback whales and some solitary ones. Several times today, the whales surfaced right next to us, covering us with their blows! It’s not every day we can say we were spit on by a whale!  Some of our whales today were identified as Bayou, Pitcher, Bungee, Flamingo, Kappa and Victim.  The pelagic birds were amazing as well with dozens of northern gannets, Cory’s shearwaters and great shearwaters soaring about.

October 18, 2017

October 18th, 2017

We had a great day today, with sightings of both baleen and toothed whales!

We weren’t far out of the harbor and spotted a large number birds in the distance. We soon saw splashes underneath them – dolphins!  We headed over and found hundreds of northern gannets and gulls, with about 100 Atlantic white-sided dolphins!  We see dolphins on 10-20% of our trips, but it’s extra unusual to see them with so many birds.  Both the dolphins and birds were intent on feeding, making it difficult to get pictures as they were traveling so quickly, but I got a couple.

Atlantic white-sided dolphin

Atlantic white-sided dolphin

We then moved on and saw some spouts – we had found a trio of humpback whales!  These whales were Pleats, A-Plus and Echo, all who have visited in recent weeks. We got some great looks at these whales from all sides of the boat.

Pleats and A-Plus

Pleats and A-Plus

Pleats and A-Plus

Pleats and A-Plus

We decided to do some exploring and found another whale – an unidentified humpback with a nearly all-black tail.  In this area, there was more bird live – gannets, plus some shearwaters and even a jaeger!

Pitcher

Pitcher

We decided to check out one more blow before heading home, and this turned out to be another familiar whale, Pitcher!

It was a beautiful and surprisingly balmy fall day on the water today!

October 9, 2017

October 10th, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

Today we spotted about 10 different humpback whales in the fog. We spent time with multiple groups including Echo and Bayou. We got some amazing close looks. The whales were deep feeding beneath the surface.

October 5, 2017

October 10th, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

We left Gloucester harbor and headed NE. We found a handful of whales feeding out to the east. We had about 20 different humpback whales in the area along with about 400 Atlantic white-sided dolphins. It was amazing to see so many whales feeding in one area. We had multiple groups but watched Cattail and calf, Vault and Crisscross feeding right next to the boat. It was a great day!

October 6, 2017

October 10th, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

Not far off the coast of Cape Ann today we found about 12 different humpback whales! We started with Dross filtering at the surface along with Gunslinger and Measles in the area. We watched Spoon traveling with Chromosome, they were both logging at the surface. We found another trio of humpback whales including Reaper, Clipper, and Sword. Clipper began flipper slapping followed by flipper slapping and breaching from Chromosome. We got some amazing looks at him breaching and flipper slapping while Spoon continued to snooze. It was a great day out on the water!

Saturday, Oct 7

October 7th, 2017

Whales have been really close to Gloucester lately!  This makes for trips with lots of time on whales and less traveling time! Today, in spite of foggy conditions to start with, we found 8 humpback whales and one minke whale. Humpbacks included were Dross, Circuit, Clipper, Bayou, Ravine, Owl and her calf.  OWL is one of Blue Ocean Society’s adoptable whales and although she and her calf were a bit hard to keep track of among all the other whales, we did get a couple of looks at the pair. The calf is around 10 months old and should be on its own pretty soon!  Best of luck, little whale!Owl and calf

Owl

Wednesday, Sept. 27

September 27th, 2017

What a fabulous day on the water! It’s hard to believe autumn is here as the temperatures were in the 80’s when we left the dock.  We had beautiful sunny skies, relatively calm seas and excellent visibility.

Our first sighting came shortly after we left the dock. Just as we rounded Thacher Island, we spotted a blow. This turned out to be a humpback whale named Dross, a humpback first sighted in 1997.  Dross was feeding using bubble clouds – we kept seeing these bubbles float to the surface shortly after Dross surfaced.  We also had a quick, but great look at a minke whale in this area.

Dross

Dross

We headed further offshore to the southern end of Jeffreys Ledge and started seeing more blows. Soon, it appeared there were humpbacks everywhere!  It was hard to keep track of them all, but it appears there were at least 17 whales in the area, many of them organized into duos and trios that were spread out all around us!

IMG_7722

We got to see some fun behaviors too, including a whale blowing bubble rings, a couple tail breaches and full breaches (which I unfortunately missed with my camera).

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Close look at a humpback

Close look at a humpback

Our last sighting was of three whales. We thought two of these were a mother and calf pair. Suddenly some fog started rolling in and we could barely see 1/4 mile in front of us.  Luckily, at that point it was about time to go, but as we headed out, the calf started belly-up lobtailing over and over, smacking its fluke on the surface and making a lot of splashes.

Lobtailing

Lobtailing

Still working on some whale ID’s, but I’ll post them here if we figure them out!

Saturday, Sept 16

September 17th, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

There are few words that can describe this morning! We started our trip with looks at a large ocean sunfish! Nearby, we watched a fin whale traveling. Through the fog we saw a single humpback whale lunge feeding at the surface. A couple miles away we found Cajun and her calf. The calf started breaching when we arrived and continued to breach for 45 minutes! Cajun even breached a few times herself. Cajun surfaced right underneath our bow while the calf breached right next to us. Passengers on the bow actually got wet! In between the breaches, Cajun and her calf were lunge feeding together. Unfortunately, Cajun’s calf is still entangled. You could clearly see the line trailing from her mouth. It was a sobering reminder of the threats that these whales face.

This afternoon the fog moved back in and we were lucky to find 6 humpback whales only 4 miles outside of the harbor! Shuffleboard and Geometry were traveling together. We also had Daffodil, Pleats, and A Plus deep feeding. A fourth unknown whale joined the group at the end of our trip, bringing our total to 6. We also spotted 2 minke whales, and ocean sunfish, and a great pod of harbor porpoise! We had a great afternoon!

Friday, Sept 15

September 16th, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

This morning started off foggy in the harbor but right outside we found some harbor porpoise and a minke whale. We got some amazing looks at the minke whale as it surfaced right next to the boat. We slowed down to look closely and listen for whales through the fog and spotted a harbor seal. It was such a calm day you could see the seal swimming right beneath the surface. It popped its head up and looked right at us. A few miles away we stopped again on a HUGE ocean sunfish! Everyone was amazed to see such an unusual creature out in the ocean. We continued on through the fog out to the east of Jeffrey’s Ledge and found a pod of around 20-30 Atlantic white-sided dolphins! They were milling around the same area, likely feeding. They jumped through our wake and traveled right under our bow. Even after all the other awesome wildlife sightings we still were hopeful that we would find some of our favorite larger whales. Through the fog, we spotted a quick look at a humpback whale! We traveled to that area and shortly after the fog lifted and revealed about 12 different humpback whales all open mouth feeding! The krill was thick at the surface as the whales lunged through. We watched a single whale, a pair, and a group of three feeding right next to the boat, including Cajun and her calf. The calf was lunging too! She has been nursing throughout the summer but we will see these young whales start to feed on solid food towards the end of the season. It was great to see this mother and her daughter feeding together. The whales swam right underneath us and lunged to the surface on the other side. We passed by about 5-6 more humpback whales feeding. We got some incredible looks inside their mouths, baleen and all. Although we didn’t want to leave, on our way back to Gloucester we spotted 2 more minke whales. The wildlife sightings were amazing today, definitely my favorite trip of the season!