August 15

What a day! There were SO many whales on the bank today – it was incredible. Our morning trip brought us not too far from the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts on the tip of Cape Cod. We got there and saw blows everywhere! There was a group of five humpbacks that we spent our trip with, but there was also another group of at least 4 – 5 whales very close by as well, in addition to a couple of single individual whales that were scooting around the area. The group that we watched this morning had two mom and calf pairs in it. The mothers were Cajun, a female born in 1998, and Jabiru, a female first seen by researchers in 2002. They both had their 2015 calves with them! The calves were being a bit more independent, not glued to mom’s side the whole time, so I am not sure which calf was Cajun’s and which was Jabiru’s! In the same group as these four whales was another whale of unknown gender named Pele, first seen in 1997. If you are looking through your photos wondering who is who, Pele has a perfect circle on the left side of its tail, which reminded researchers of a soccer ball, and thus they named this whale after the famous soccer player Pele! Cajun has a pretty much all white tail fluke with just a few spots of black. Jabiru also has a fair amount of white, but has more black than Cajun does. We watched this group and got some great looks as they swam all around us. Even as we were watching these whales, there were still blows all around us!

On our afternoon trip we returned to the same spot as we were this morning, and as the Provincetown Monument came into view, so did many blows! The groups were a little less defined this afternoon – there were two groups of 5 whales around and they all kept darting around and switching groups and getting together and breaking back up. In one group we had the same five we saw this morning – Cajun and her calf, Jabiru and her calf, and Pele. Again, the calves were being much more independent and sometimes we’d see just a calf come up and the adults resurface somewhere else. Along with this group, we had two other whales in another group I was able to identify as Perseid and Hancock. At one point our group with Cajun, Jabiru, and Pele surfaced on our port side, and three other whales that were around the area surfaced just to the right of our bow and swam right under it! It was almost difficult to point out the whales to passengers because everywhere you looked, there were whales. Seeing so many humpback whales at once is a real treat, but we also got another surprise. We were treated to many different surface behaviors by one of the curious calves. One of the calves was tail breaching, back breaching, lob tailing, lob tailing belly-up, and flipper slapping! All fantastic surface behaviours that are super fun to watch. In addition to our breaching calf, there was another whale a little bit in the distance who was also consistently lob tailing, breaching, and occasionally flipper slapping. Certainly a lot of activity on the bank today with so many whales! I believe we had around 15 different humpback whales around us today – what a spectacular day.

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