Sept 28

September 29th, 2015

Although Monday usually means a bit of grogginess for us on land, out on Jeffrey’s Ledge marine life was excited and active! Our trip got off to a quick start when we spotted an Ocean Sunfish right outside of Gloucester Harbor. After our ocean sunfish we carried on, passing by Thatcher Island and continuing north to Jeffrey’s Ledge.

Our first whale sighting was of two humpback whales! They were taking rather short dives, spending lots of time just hanging out below the water surface and we even got an unexpected tail breach! Always very exciting to see any breaching behavior. After some time with this pair, we moved to where the tuna fleet was in hopes of finding a few more whales. We spotted a spout and came to a stop to try and pick it up again…but before long we were over come by a huge pod of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins. They swam around the boat for quite a while and made for a very enjoyable time. They finally continued south and we headed in the opposite direction towards the original spouts we had seen. There was a few humpbacks in the area and we got looks at a few including Spoon and her calf. There was also a trio which at the moment we thought included our original pair, but using our photo IDs we noted there was actually 5 different whales around us as well as 2 single humpbacks about a mile north of us. It’s always exciting seeing so much active marine life out there! When we started heading back south towards Gloucester Harbor we ran into the large pod of dolphins again and this time we traveled south with them for a while, getting some really close up looks at these beautiful creatures. Everyone on board was as happy with the dolphins as they seemed to be with us! All around a great trip today!Spoon


Sept 27

September 28th, 2015

Our trip to Jeffrey’s Ledge this morning brought us a quick look at a whale breaching and flipper slapping in the distance. As luck would have it, as soon as we approached, the whale quieted down, taking only a few breaths before diving down. It turned out to be Hornbill, a male who frequently is found on Jeffrey’s. We left Hornbill and spent most of the trip with Owl, her new calf, and Geometry. Owl’s calf was being quite active and curious, rolling around, flipper slapping, tail breaching, and practicing blowing bubble clouds. Owl’s calf even surfaced through a big patch of seaweed and was playing with it on its face and flipper – a rare behavior called kelping! On our way back to the harbor we came across Hornbill again for a quick look, as well as passed by 4 different ocean sunfish, stopping to take a look at one of them.

Our afternoon trip was a very fun charter trip where we once again headed towards Jeffrey’s. There were 10-12 humpbacks all around us, including a pair ID’d as Cornucopia and Solo.

Sept 20

September 21st, 2015

Tons of activity and tons of whales out on Jeffrey’s Ledge today! In the morning we saw a humpback mom and calf pair, Shuffleboard and her new 2015 calf. Her calf was being very playful, spending most of the sighting belly-up, rolling around, and slapping its pectoral fins on the water. It even swam, belly-up, right across our bow! The calf also did a spyhop where it brought it’s face up out of the water to take a look around, before returning again to its belly-up position. We saw a lot of activity in the distance, so we went to go check it out and we found Sigma and Tornado who put on quite the show. This pair was very active the entire time we were with them, flipper slapping and rolling around, and even giving us a few tail breaches. They were flipper slapping at the same time together and then alternating slaps, which was very cool to see!

On our afternoon trip, there were so many whales around we weren’t sure where to head first! As we were getting our bearings, there were a couple of single whales swimming all around, who were ID’d as Hornbill, Patches, Spar, and Geometry. After deciding on a course, we spent time with a trio of humpbacks, Owl and her new calf, and Mogul. Owls calf spent a lot of time rolling around and raising its flippers in the air, and it was certainly curious of us. At one point, the calf rolled onto its side right next to our starboard bow and you could see its eye right under the water checking us out. After hanging out with Owl and calf and Mogul, we checked out some other whales in the area – it was Sigma and Tornado who we saw in the morning still hanging out together! Terrific day of whale watching!

Sept 18

September 18th, 2015

Today we ventured back down to Stellwagen Bank. The whales had of course moved from where they were yesterday, but we found some whales that weren’t seen on yesterday’s trip!

We began with a pair of sleepy humpbacks who were just identified as Samara and Bombay. Bombay was the larger of the two, and she was looking a little extra plump. Perhaps she’ll return with a calf next year!

Two more humpbacks were in the area- Draco and Daffodil, and then we spotted Pleats!

Several minke whales were scooting through the area, and on the way home, we found a pair of fin whales, after attempting to look at another wiggly pair of humpbacks! The whales were on a mission today and we were pleased to see as many as we did!

Sept 17

September 17th, 2015

Today we headed back to the Northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank and we were not disappointed! We quickly picked up several blows and headed towards them were we spent some time with two humpbacks Patches and Scylla. They were with us for quite a while. We got some really fantastic looks at their white glowing pectoral fins because of the calm and clear waters today.

We saw several other blows around us so after some time we decided to go see who else was in the area. We got to where we thought we had seen two exhalations and suddenly there were three humpback whales right next to us! This trio was made up of Nine, Tornado and Sigma. This trio circled around us for a while and gave us some great looks at their large flukes. Every time they went on a dive we noticed several single humpbacks around the same area including Patches and Scylla from earlier who separated shortly before we left them and a breaching humpback.

Our trip ended with us getting some quick looks at another single humpback whale and a harbor seal who swam right along the boat. Even a few feet under water we could still see the seal swimming because of today’s perfect weather conditions. Passengers today all had some great questions and it’s safe to say they all learned a great deal about humpback whales today!

Sept 15

September 16th, 2015

Another lovely day on Jeffreys Ledge! We are really getting treated to some great sightings much closer to home. Today we found a big fin whale, the second largest animal on the planet! This one was a well-known individual, #0354, who has a beautiful marble-like chevron marking on his back and a distinctive dorsal fin.

We also got a brief look at a pair of fin whales on our ride home but were out of time to wait for them to resurface since we spent a lot of time with the humpback whales. We found 2 humpbacks by themselves, Mogul and Patches, and then a trio of humpbacks! This group has been together for a few days now: Nine, Vulture and Highlighter.

Sept 13

September 13th, 2015

Not the most comfortable ride today, but we managed despite the fog and choppy seas. We made our way north today to Jeffries Ledge where we spotted three humpback whales to start off. They were ID’d as Nine, Highlighter, and Vulture. DSC_8110 (2)

DSC_8103 (2)After a bit we left the three to look at other blows around. We found a very elusive fin whale who was not surfacing very much. Luckily, there were even more blows in the area that belonged to two more humpback whales ID’d as Nike and Mogul. Mogul had some whale lice on him – crustacean parasites that live on the whale’s skin. You can see a patch of them inside the blowhole in a picture posted below! DSC_8244 (2)

DSC_8234 (2)On our way back to Gloucester we were surprised with a pod of around 50 Atlantic White-sided dolphins! They swam all around our boat and played in our way. DSC_8287 (2)Great trip today all around!

Sept 12

September 13th, 2015

Today was an absolutely beautiful day to be out on the water. It was sunny, breezy, the perfect temperature and we had marine life all around us! Our trip north to Jeffrey’s Ledge started with some really close up looks at some ocean sunfish, or Mola molas. The first one was one of the biggest I had personally seen all summer. We then pressed on when we picked up a few blows not far off. When we arrived at the blows we found 3 large humpback whales! Two we identified as Nine and Highlighter. NineWe stayed for them a while and even got some close up looks as they fluked right next to the boat. We knew there had been some dolphins in the area so we set off to find them and along the way passed a Fin whale who was heading down on a dive. When we arrived at the pod of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins we were not disappointed. A large pod, of at least 80 individuals, circled the boat for quite a while. There were even a few jumping completely out of the water  and showing off near the boat. Dolphin

Dolphin GroupI think it’s safe to say all the passengers today enjoyed them as much as the dolphins enjoyed themselves!

Sept 8

September 9th, 2015

Being situated in Gloucester really does give us an advantage in the choice of whale feeding grounds. We have Jeffreys Ledge to our north, and Stellwagen Bank to our south. Today we decided to head north to the Ledge and it certainly paid off!  As we rounded the tip of Cape Ann, we started to see wildlife. Ocean sunfish (Mola mola) were all over! We saw 2 close together, and then ended up with several more throughout the trip!  The first whales we saw were fin whales- a mother with her playful calf! This pair was great, and the mom was a familiar friend- Comet! A minke was also poking around the area.

We continued on and found a couple more fin whales and some more minkes. Then we saw a tail in the air- a humpback whale! Turns out we had at least 5 humpbacks in the area including Owl and her calf! We also saw Scar the minke whale!

Comet, Owl and Scar are all adoptable through Blue Ocean Society! What luck!

Highlighter and Geometry were hanging out together and Mogul also joined up with Owl and her calf for a few surfacings.

As we headed for home, we passed by 2 more fin whales traveling together- one of which is #9616, first seen in 1996!

And then as we neared Cape Ann, we got a special treat. A pair of huge basking sharks were circling, nose to tail, making all sorts of splashing. It was pretty remarkable day!

Sept 7

September 9th, 2015

Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer (don’t worry we still whale watch in the fall).  This as been the summer of southern Stellwagen, so what better way to spend the last day of summer, than on southern Stellwagen.  We were not disappointed, with sightings of a group of five humpbacks circling the boat including Perseid, Bayou, and Lutris.  We also had Music on a few occasions throughout the trip, but everyone’s favorite was our last sighting when it was flipper slapping and caught us all by surprise with a breach!  Today’s trip will make going back to school tomorrow very difficult for a lot of people on board the Miss Cape Ann today.