Aug 6

From naturalist Allison

We took a bit of a ride on our morning trip, about 28 miles and ended up right around Provincetown. On our way down we did pass a minke whale and a fin whale, but we kept on going in order to find some larger groups of whales. The ride paid off and we found quite a few humpback whales! We started off with a group of three, but after the first surfacing, one of the whales had split off and we were left with two. One of the whales in that group was a whale named Echo, a female first seen in 1988. I was unable to identify the whale she was with. We only got one quick look at Echo and friend, as we saw three more blows just off our bow. We made our way over there, but again, as soon as we approached, one of the whales in the group split off and we were left watching two! It really gives you an idea of how transient humpback whale associations are – they’re usually not hanging around with the same whales for too long! We watched these two whales for a bit, and at one point they dove right under our bow! One of these two whales was Pele, a whale first seen in 1997. The other whale Pele was with was fluking a bit sideways, and almost looked as though it was turning as it went down on its dives. I got a couple of fluke shots but haven’t found it in the catalog just yet! We then moved on to some more blows in the area, and we came across a mom and calf pair! The mom was Cajun, a female born in 1998. Her calf this year is her third calf – congratulations Cajun! We watched Cajun and calf swim all around the boat for a few surfacings, and then, suddenly, there were four blows that we were watching! Pele and the sideways fluker had joined Cajun and calf. We got EXCELLENT looks at these four, at one point all of them were swimming so very close to our starboard side and we could look right through the water and see all of them – the calf was even doing some rolling under the surface! Super close looks at four whales at once definitely doesn’t happen every trip, it was such a treat! As we eased our way out of the area and attempted to make our way back to Gloucester at the end of the trip, we were surprised by another group of four surfacing just off our port side! There were blows all around, it’s always nice to see so many whales out on the bank.

Our afternoon trip brought us to a very similar location just off of Provincetown. Again, it was a little bit of a ride but it was well worth it. We spotted our first blows and as we approached a pair of humpback whales, we all got a great surprise – one of the whales lunged straight up through the surface of the water with is massive mouth wide open and its lower jaw pleats expanded and full of water and fish! These whales were feeding! We only saw one open mouth lunge, but the whales were still feeding the whole time we were watching them. One of them was kick feeding, where it slapped its tail on the surface of the water a few times before blowing bubbles under the surface to stun schools of fish. Our kickfeeder I was able to identify as A-plus, who has a marking that actually says “A+” on its tail – very cool! We continued to watch these whales feed, blowing bubble clouds and coming up thrusting their heads slightly out of the water to filter the water out. At one point a bubble cloud came up right next to our bow, and the whales shortly followed, giving everyone a fabulous up close look. We then moved on to another group of two humpbacks – these two, however, were being a bit elusive and we only got some quick looks at them, as we saw four blows in the distance. We left our elusive pair and made our way to the four – it was Perseid, Canopy, Snare, and one that didn’t fluke. Perseid and Canopy were both born in 1998, and Snare was born in 2007 – all pretty young whales! We got some good looks at these four before making our way back to land. What a great day of whale watching!

Comments are closed.