July 18

July 18th, 2017

This morning’s fog burned off nicely for our afternoon trip to Stellwagen Bank where we found some humpback whales. Our first sighting was that of Firefly and her calf. This calf started off by repeatedly tail-breaching, throwing it’ posterior end out of the water repeatedly while Firefly was underwater somewhere.

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A third whale came into the area and then was gone as fast as it appeared so we watched this pair calmly swim along side the boat for a while.

Then we moved away and found another pair of humpback whales. This was finally confirmed to be Bolide and her calf. This calf is huge, and was making us guess as to just what we were looking at.  Near the end of our time with them we watched in awe as the calf breached 3 times! Beautiful!!!  Such a lovely afternoon on the ocean.

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But the fun didn’t stop there! On our way home we encountered a squall (lots of wind and rain) but it was brief and a little fun since there was no lightning involved.  We never know what adventures a boat trip will bring!  The sun came out and we even got a glimpse of a rainbow as we approached the harbor.

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July 16

July 17th, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

We had an AMAZING morning out on the water! The weather was perfect for whale watching, the seas were calm and the sun was out. We arrived on the southern end of Stellwagen Bank to find about 10-12 humpback whales. We started the trip with looks at Pele and Bristle surfacing from right underneath our boat. The calm seas allowed us to get some incredible looks at the whales as they swam right next to our boat. Firefly and her calf along with Spirit were also in the area. The adults were deep feeding while the calf stayed at the surface.

This afternoon was gorgeous out on the water. We watched about 10 humpback whales including a trio of females, Salt, Touchdown, and Habanero. The trio was feeding beneath the surface. We also had Firefly and Bolide traveling with their calves. It’s always nice to watch the next generation of humpback whales out on the feeding grounds.

Images to come soon!

July 15

July 17th, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

This morning we found about 12 different humpback whales on the southwestern corner of Stellwagen Bank! We started off our trip watching Pele and Bristle traveling together. While watching the pair, researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution collected a blow sample from Pele as he surfaced to breathe. It was great to see research happening firsthand! We also watched two juvenile whales before finding a large group of 5 humpback whales traveling together including Firefly and her calf and Spirit. The calf was rolling around at the surface while the adults fed below.

This afternoon we traveled down to the southern end of Stellwagen Bank again to find Firefly and her calf logging at the surface. We were able to get some great looks at the pair while they took their afternoon nap. We spent the rest of our time with Spoon and Salt, two long time Stellwagen Bank favorites! It was amazing to see these two large females traveling together.

Images to come soon!

July 14, 2017

July 14th, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

This morning we found a single humpback whale right outside of Gloucester Harbor. We stopped to take a few looks at this individual that was quickly traveling through the area. We decided to follow reports down to the southwestern edge of Stellwagen Bank. We arrived in the area to find about 10 different humpback whales including the famous Salt! She was the first whale ever named in our area back in 1976! It was great to see her in the area today! We also saw Spirit and Bolide traveling with a juvenile whale. The whales surfaced multiple times right next to the boat, the young whale even breached right in front of our boat. It was a great morning out on the water!

This afternoon we left Gloucester Harbor towards the southwestern corner of Stellwagen Bank. We started off our trip with looks at Echo’s 2014 calf breaching multiple times. We spotted a total of about 10-12 whales in the area. The whales were traveling in groups and likely feeding beneath the surface. We saw two mother calf pairs, Firefly and Hancock. It was great to get great close looks at the next generation of humpback whales. We also saw one of my favorites this afternoon, Pele. Perfect way to end the day out on Stellwagen Bank!

July 9 and 10

July 11th, 2017

From Naturalist Laura:

We had to put in a lot of effort, but we were rewarded.  The last two days have been great for watching humpbacks.  Granted, you have to be willing to go for a long ride, but it is summer time, and long boat rides are what we do!  Hancock’s calf is quite the fluker.  Most calves, at this point in the season, don’t fluke very often, if at all.  But, Hancock’s calf flukes on almost every dive.  We have spent most of the last few trips with a group that includes Venom, Hancock and her calf, Mend, and sometimes Jabiru joins them, as well.  But, the sightings do not stop there; we also had Pele, Othello, Northstar, Shuffleboard, and Bounce, and a few more I’m still trying to match to the catalog.

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July 6, 2017

July 7th, 2017

From Naturalist Laura:

As far as whales go, yesterday was a bit of a slow day, so I had low expectations when I left for work this morning.  However, I was pleasantly surprised on both trips today.  On our first trip, we started with Putter, north of Stellwagen and traveling north.  He was going on long dives (10 minutes) but reliably traveling on a set course and speed which allowed us to easily track him and position ourselves next to him when he surfaced.  We then moved onto Bayou traveling with another humpback I did not recognize.  The passengers were delighted to when they started tail breaching in unison to finish up the first trip of the day.

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When we went out for our second trip the wind had increased a bit, which made finding spouts more difficult.  Luckily, when there is a breaching minke whale you don’t need to worry about finding spouts.  The minke whale breached over 100 times in the 30 minutes we watched it.   Humpback whales only breach on about 10% of our trips, but minke whales breach even less.  Usually, I only see one (or if I’m lucky two) breaching minke(s) a year.

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July 4, 2017

July 4th, 2017

Happy Independence Day!

Today was the calmest day we’ve seen in a long time!   This morning we saw humpback whales about 20 miles from Gloucester. The first was Shuffleboard, a female. We watched her for a few surfacings before spotting a couple other whales in the area.

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One of these was Gondolier, a male who was seen on Jeffreys Ledge just yesterday morning, about 30 miles north!

These whales certainly move around a lot!  Then we spent some time with a 3rd humpback named Dross. This whale was taking short dives and not moving too quickly, allowing us great views.

Intern Heddie recording research data

Intern Heddie recording research data

This afternoon, we had a much more difficult time finding whales. We had to travel 30 miles to see anything at all. We passed a minke whale just before seeing a pair of sleepy humpbacks, Spoon and Touchdown.

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At one point, 3 minke whales were up at the surface, and one came right into the area with the humpbacks, and then swam right across our bow! Great looks at this “small” (25 foot) whale.

2 humpbacks and a minke!

2 humpbacks and a minke!

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As we say, every trip is different and we never know what to expect from Mother Nature.

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

July 2, 2017

July 3rd, 2017

From Naturalist Beth

This morning we took a great ride to the edge of Jeffrey’s Ledge where we found Valley and her calf. The calf was active at the surface, tail breaching and flipper slapping during the trip. We were afforded amazing close looks at the pair. It was amazing to see Valley traveling through the area with her calf.

This afternoon we had an amazing trip on southern Stellwagen Bank. Both Dross and Shuffleboard, the humpback whales, were feeding in the area. Dross blew a bubble net right underneath our bow and surfaced right next to the boat. We watched both whales as they continued to feed. On the way home, we spotted an amazing pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. The dolphins were jumping through our boat wake and followed our boat as we moved through the area. It was a perfect way to end an amazing day!

July 1, 2017

July 3rd, 2017

From Naturalist Beth

This morning we traveled to Stellwagen Bank and started on one fin whale. There were quite a few boats in the area so we decided to take a ride down to the southwestern corner of the bank and found three humpback whales. We started our trip with Spoon taking long dives, but surfacing right next to the boat. We also saw Dross and Shuffleboard in the area. We were the only boat out of Gloucester that morning to see humpback whales! It was a great morning out on the water.

This afternoon we traveled to the southern end of Stellwagen Bank to watch Dross and Spoon traveling together. Both whales surfaced right next to the boat! We moved further north to find Shuffleboard feeding before making our way back to Gloucester.

July 1-2, 2017

July 2nd, 2017

From Naturalist Beth

Saturday 7/1 AM:

This morning we traveled to Stellwagen Bank and started on one fin whale. There were quite a few boats in the area so we decided to take a ride down to the southwestern corner of the bank and found three humpback whales. We started our trip with Spoon taking long dives, but surfacing right next to the boat. We also saw Dross and Shuffleboard in the area. We were the only boat out of Gloucester that morning to see humpback whales! It was a great morning out on the water.

Saturday 7/1 PM:

This afternoon we traveled to the southern end of Stellwagen Bank to watch Dross and Spoon traveling together. Both whales surfaced right next to the boat! We moved further north to find Shuffleboard feeding before making our way back to Gloucester.

Sunday 7/2 AM:

This morning we took a great ride to the edge of Jeffrey’s Ledge where we found Valley and her calf. The calf was active at the surface, tail breaching and flipper slapping during the trip. We were afforded amazing close looks at the pair. It was amazing to see Valley traveling through the area with her calf.

Saturday 7/2 PM:

This afternoon we had an amazing trip on southern Stellwagen Bank. Both Dross and Shuffleboard, the humpback whales, were feeding in the area. Dross blew a bubble net right underneath our bow and surfaced right next to the boat. We watched both whales as they continued to feed. On the way home, we spotted an amazing pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. The dolphins were jumping through our boat wake and followed our boat as we moved through the area. It was a perfect way to end an amazing day!