July 23

This morning’s trip started out with a single humpback whale who we got some great looks at. I was able to get a really nice fluke shot of this whale, but was unable to locate this whale in the catalog we have on board, so I didn’t have an ID this morning. However, I looked at a more extensive online catalog and was able to ID this single whale as a whale named Pinch!

PInch's tail fluke

Pinch's tail fluke

We then moved on to a very quick look at a humpback pair, one of which was a whale named Echo, who is a female whale first seen in 1988 and has had 6 calves that we know about. Echo has a very easily recognizable tail fluke pattern, with little lines on her left tail fluke that gradually get bigger. The whale she was with did not fluke so I didn’t get an ID, and then we moved on to another pair of humpback whales that was close by. This pair was Pregunta and an unknown whale. Pregunta was first seen in 1990 and has had 3 calves that we know about. A little bit in the distance, we got some views of the research vessel the “R V Shearwater” working on their tagging project. They were working closely with a group of five or so humpbacks, but we didn’t want to disturb their work so we didn’t go see that group. Two of the whales in the group did fluke, however, and I was able to identify them as Bayou and Perseid!

The afternoon brought us a little bit closer to Provincetown than the morning trip, and we started off with a trio of humpback whales. These whales were ID’d as Perseid (female, born in 1998, has had 2 calves), Bayou (female, born in 2006), and Venom (female, born in 1996, has had one calf). Bayou and Venom both have very distinctive tails. Bayou is missing a very large portion of her right tail fluke, which appears to have been taken off by a boat propeller. Venom is also missing a part of her tail fluke, although much less severely than Bayou. Venom is missing the right tip of her tail fluke. We spent a good amount of time with this trio, who surfaced right under our bow at one point, surprising us all! We then moved on and spent time with a pair of humpbacks, ID’d as Zeppelin (female, born in 1989, has had 5 calves) and Fracture (male, first seen in 1990). We got some very nice looks at this pair as they swam at the surface and did a little bit of logging. Overall it was a great day on Stellwagen Bank!

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