August 14

On our morning trip, we got to spend some time with a group of five different humpback whales! In this group, we had a mom and calf pair. I identified the mother as Bolide, a female first sighted by researchers in 1997. With Bolide and her new calf from this year was Perseid, an adult female born in 1998. I was not able to identify the two other whales in the group – one of them did not show its tail at all while we were watching the group, and the other I was only able to get a few tail shots at some difficult angles. One of these unknown whales did have a pretty large scar on its tailstock, which appeared to be from an encounter with a boat – shipstrikes are one of the main threats to whales on Stellwagen bank. The scar, however, looks old and healed and the whale appears to be doing just fine. We got some really great looks at this group of five. At one point, the group broke off into a group of 3 and then a group of 2, being the mom calf pair. Bolide and her calf then surfaced directly under our bow on the port side! We got fantastic looks at these beautiful mammals. Bolide’s calf was even fluking, which is not too common for calves!

Our afternoon trip brought us to an area not too far from where we were in the morning. We started our trip with quick looks at two different individual humpback whales. We only stopped on them very briefly, as there were a great number of different whales in the area. We moved on to a whale who was being very active. We saw many tail breaches and lobtailing from this whale. Tail breaching and lobtailing are two distinct behaviours. The tail breach is when the whale basically whips its entire tailstock out of the water in a very dramatic display and crashes it on the surface. The tail lob is a more controlled behavior and occurs when the whale lifts its tail up into the air and smacks it on the surface in a controlled movement, one after another. We watched this whale tail breach and lob for a bit before we decided to move on to another blow in the area. This next whale that we came across actually happened to be one of the same whales that we saw in the morning – that unknown whale with the large scar on its tailstock. We watched this whale swim around and do some deep feeding, as we observed bubble clouds rise to the surface. After getting some looks at this whale, we ended our trip with a fantastic sighting of a group of five whales – two of them were Pele and Perseid, whale that we also saw in the morning. They were swimming around with a mom and calf pair, but I am not sure who the mother was. I don’t believe that the mother was the same mother we saw this morning. We got a really fabulous look at this large group as they all dove right off our port side, with the mom and calf pair diving one after another very close to us. What a great ending to our trip!

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