May 17: Quality, not Quantity

Today’s weather tried its best to inhibit our abilities to find whales, but sometimes we come out on top with a little bit of skill and a whole lot of luck.  The fog thickened as we neared Stellwagen Bank, and reduced visibility isn’t always great when we are looking for whales.   However, as we approached the area where whales had been reported earlier in the day, we spotted a humpback whale slapping its flipper on the water. It’s always nice when the wild whales cooperate!

This adult humpback whale had a curious side. Generally, whales are busy doing their job- eating, breathing, diving. But every now and then we come across a whale that is interested in US! Today was one of those days. Even with another whale watching boat close by, this whale repeatedly surfaced close to our boat and at one point was even hanging out right under our boat!  It is a rare occasion to have wild animals express curiosity in human-made things but this one seemed to really want to know what we were all about! Flipper slapping, spy hopping and general close approaches as we were drifting were the repertoire for this whale, later identified as Tunguska.   After a while with this whale, we moved along to see what else might be hanging around the Bank.

Our volunteer Sue quickly spotted a pair of huge fin whales travelling together. These whales were so fast that we only got the one look at them before they sped off into the fog.

Finally we came across another whale watch boat, and hence, another whale! This one was identified as Sundown who seemed busy feeding and not spending too much time at the surface.

Additionally, our crew reported seeing a minke whale in the mix. Minke whales are about 20-30 feet long and can be tricky to keep track of in the best conditions.  All in all, it was a nice day to be on the water searching for whales!

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