Aug 1

From Naturalist Allison

During our morning trip, it only took us about an hour of traveling before we came across our first whales – definitely closer than they have been! Our first whale sighting brought us a pair of humpback whales, who I was able to ID as Draco and Milkyway. I ID’d Draco this morning on the trip, but it took a little extra work to ID Milkyway, as Milkyway has a very dark tail fluke with only a few distinctive white marks. We left the pair of whales momentarily to get some good looks at a pretty big basking shark. These sharks are the second largest shark species in the world and are filter feeders, filtering tiny plankton from the water as they swim. The basking shark came right up to our starboard side at one point, giving us all some really nice looks. We then watched Draco and Milkyway for a few more looks before moving on to our second pair of humpback whales – I-Vee and Reaper. These whales were pretty cooperative and we did get some very nice looks at these two – overall a very nice trip!

On our afternoon trip, we actually had some very nice weather despite the downpour that greeted us as we boarded! We’re very glad we stuck out the rain, as it stopped very shortly as soon as we left the harbor and we had clear skies and glassy seas for the rest of the trip! Our first whale encounter was a pair of humpback whales, one of which I ID’d as Midnight, who probably got her name from her almost all black tail fluke pattern. Midnight was born in 1978 and has had 10 calves in her lifetime! She was with a whale who I was unable to identify, as I didn’t get a clear fluke picture. These two gave us some good looks, and after a couple of surfacings we moved on to another pair in the area. Our second pair of whales was Nile and Pitcher! Nile and Pitcher were also seen together on Thursday, so evidently they are still hanging around together which is interesting! We got some fabulous looks at the pair, and Nile at one point surfaced very close to our starboard side and stayed very close for the whole surfacing. We got some awesome looks at her, and we were able to see right through the water and get good looks at her massive pectoral flippers! A very nice day on Stellwagen bank today!!

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