July 16

July 16th, 2016

It was another blazing hot summer day today, it was wonderful to escape offshore to cooler weather. On our morning trip today we passed a breaching school of tuna and a couple of minke whales as we made our way further down Stellwagen and ended up finding a pod of North Atlantic white-sided dolphins! Some of dolphins in the pod were tail slapping and breaching so it was a wonderful sighting. We also spent time with 3 different humpback whales: Dyad, Fulcrum, and Cantilever. Dyad was off by herself, while Fulcrum and Cantilever were traveling together. Cantilever is the 2007 calf of Fulcrum so it was interesting that they were hanging out together! Fulcrum is looking wonderful and healthy, despite overcoming being hit by a boat in 2003 (giving her the very distinctive scar where her dorsal fin should be) as well as being entangled in fishing gear in 2005. We also got a great look at a minke that surfaced directly next to our starboard bow while we were watching Fulcrum and Cantilever, which was a nice surprise.

For the afternoon, we ended up finding Dyad, Fulcrum, and Cantilever again. Fulcrum and Cantilever were no longer swimming together and had gone separate ways. Fulcrum was doing a lot of “logging”, or the closest thing that whales get to actual sleep. She stayed at the surface for very long periods of time, not really diving down too much which was wonderful for us to be able to watch her. It was a beautiful day on the water!

July 15

July 15th, 2016

Today was an absolutely beautiful day, despite the storm that was rolling in towards the end of our second trip. We started off the day and first trip with three minke whales that we got some quick but great looks at. We ventured on in hopes of bigger whale species further out.  We then stumbled upon our first humpback whale of the day, Dyad! She gave us some great looks, bringing her tail high above the surface of the water before diving down under. We then moved on to our second humpback whale, Alphorn. He was a very cooperative whale, staying relatively close to the boat often times in the same area. The first time we saw Alphorn he breached right out of the water two times but I only could get his splash on camera from all the excitement.  We also saw Flucrum, a female humback whale that is very distinctive in that she has propeller scars from a boat strike along both sides of her dorsal fin. We saw a fourth humpback that does not have a name but is known as Rapier’s calf from 2007. This whale had a type 4 tail, with only a small amount of white speckles. To wrap up the afternoon trip we got another glance at Alphorn as we headed back towards Gloucester Harbor.

For the second trip a storm was rolling in but that didn’t stop us. We started off the day with Dyad again who was sporadically moving around and surfacing all around the boat in many different areas. From this we assumed that Dyad was perhaps feeding. We spent quite some time watching Dyad and getting amazing glances at her beautiful white and black tail and great glances at her bright white pectoral flippers glowing fluorescent green underneath the water’s surface. We ventured on to another whale in the area that ended up being Rapier’s calf from 2007. This whale was being very active at the surface doing lots of bubble feeding and tail lobbing, perhaps stunning the fish below it. There was also a lot of bird life following this whale trying to snatch up the fish that may have escaped the whale’s mouth.  We got some great looks at its beautiful pectoral flippers and underside of its tail. As we were leaving the area we were then joined at the last minute by Dyad again, perhaps she was saying goodbye!

July 14

July 15th, 2016

Heading to Stellwagen Bank today, we found a couple of humpback whales known as Fulcrum and Dyad. Fulcrum suffered a collision with a  boat years ago, leaving her dorsal fin mangled. Still, she’s a trooper and not only survived, but continues to produce calves!!

July 12

July 12th, 2016

This morning we didn’t have to go far to find whales. Thanks to our sharp-eyed intern Kate, we spotted some blows close to Cape Ann.  Dyad, the humpback whale was taking short dives and blew a bubble cloud to trap her prey! A couple of minke whales were scooting around too, giving some nice looks at them while she was underwater.  We spotted another blow in the distance and went in search of it. But after lots of searching, we came up empty. Seems that the whale that was there was trying to pull a fast one on us and swam by us, underwater, over to where Dyad was!  This sneaky whale was Hancock.  Both Dyad and Hancock are female, and both had calves last year!

This afternoon we found Dyad again and spent some time with her before moving on to watch a pair of humpbacks. The whale who was fluking frequently was Pele, while the friend was just identified as Bristle!  We also watch a minke whale for a bit while the humpbacks were below the surface. Great day for whale watching!

July 11

July 12th, 2016

There were a lot of whales on the bank today, a great sign that there is a lot of productivity! On our morning trip we traveled about 14 miles to find at least 15 humpback whales. They were all around us as they kept breaking up associations and coming back together, they were certainly very busy moving around today. Whales ID’d in the morning were Tornado and her calf, Echo and her calf, Falcon, Pele, Perseid, Cajun, Alphorn, Jupiter, Milkweed, Bristle, Bowline and Tectonic. One of the calves got very curious of us and surfaced right next to us, appearing to be looking at us underwater.

In the afternoon we went about 15 miles to find many of the same whales we had in the morning! Whales ID’d were Pele, Tornado and calf, Echo and calf, Alphorn, and a few others giving us a total of 10 humpbacks. As a correction, the whale that was with Echo and her calf was actually Tectonic, not Putter.

Echo and her calf gave us amazing looks as they logged right off our starboard bow. Another great day with the whales!

July 6

July 7th, 2016

It was hot as Hades on land today, so everyone was excited to get offshore and get a little reprieve from the heat.  Even just getting off the dock made all the passengers realize they made the right decision in going whale watching today.  Halfway down the eastern side of the bank we found Firefly, lazily traveling to the northeast.  After watching her for a few surfacings we continued a bit further south to find Othello and Crown traveling together.  We’ve been watching Othello in this area since 1978!  There was a third individual who joined up with them for a minute or so and then continued on.

July 4

July 6th, 2016

Happy 4th of July! It was wonderful to be able to spend such a gorgeous holiday with the whales. On the morning trip we got a special treat – a huge pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins!! This was my first time seeing dolphins this season, so it was definitely an awesome surprise. I would estimate that there were around 200 dolphins in this pod, with some mom and calf pairs included. Some of the dolphins even jumped right out of the water. After our fabulous dolphin sighting, we continued down the bank to find some larger whale species and we came across quite a few. Whales identified were Falcon, Lariat, Literal, and Touche, and two others that I couldn’t identify. On our way home, we actually found another humpback whale that gave us our best sighting of the day – it turned out to be a female whale named Hancock. Hancock surfaced directly off of our starboard bow and stayed at the surface checking us out for a while, giving us all incredible looks. Definitely a great way to end a trip!

Our afternoon trip took us pretty far from shore, but was well worth it when we came across 13 humpback whales in the area. We got up close and personal looks at 8 of those 13 whales, some identified as Bowline, Flock, Music and her calf, Canopy, and Perseid. Bowline and Flock were traveling together and approached our boat very closely, giving everyone amazing looks. Music’s calf was also being a bit active, rolling around and doing some flipper slapping. Thank you to everyone who spent the holiday with us!

July 3

July 6th, 2016

The sun was out and the seas were calm for our Sunday trips to Stellwagen bank. In the morning we had whales super close to shore, only about 9 miles away! We came across Scylla the humpback whale and what appeared to be her calf. The calf looked a little bit on the bigger side and was holding its breath for a long time which was surprising, but based on the behavior, I’m pretty sure it was indeed her calf. There were also a couple of fin whales in the area and we got up close looks at one of them, really appreciating just how massive they are. We also found another humpback whale, a female named Glo-stick and watched her for a while. Glo-stick is actually one of Scylla’s calves, so it was interesting they were in the same area today. Glo-stick eventually joined Scylla and her calf for a surfacing but then the trio broke up as we made our way back home.

In the afternoon, the whales had moved a bit more off shore. The fin whales stole the show in my opinion. We got amazing looks at two different fin whales right next to our boat. Seeing fin whales up close is just breathtaking! We also found Scylla and her calf again. The calf surprised us with a couple of breaches, rolling, and little flipper slapping!

June 27

July 1st, 2016

It was a bit rocky on the ocean today, thank you to our hardy passengers for braving the seas today to come watch whales today! On our morning trip we ventured about 26 miles from the harbor and were delighted to find a single humpback whale being active. Our single humpback was identified as Harrow. Harrow was busy tail breaching and flipper slapping, giving us some fabulous views. We also saw Salt and her new calf as well. It’s always a treat seeing Salt, the first humpback whale cataloged in the population back in 1976. She is considered to be the “Grand Dame” of Stellwagen Bank.

On the afternoon trip we headed out to the bank again where we came across Perseid, an 18 year old female humpback. Perseid was being very mellow today, but allowed us to get great looks at her as she surfaced close to our bow a few different times. Thank you again to our wonderful passengers for coming out today to search for marine life on the bank. Every trip is different and we don’t know what we are going to find until we head out there and give it a shot!

Friday, June 24

June 26th, 2016

The last two days, on Stellwagen Bank, have been nothing short of phenomenal. We’ve had four species of whales (fin whales, minke whales, sei whales, and more humpback whales than we could count). The prey species seems to have shifted to sand lance in the last week or so, we know this because we could see it jumping out of the whales’ mouths as they were feeding! We have finally started to see some of the humpbacks that I consider “old regulars”, and some not so regulars, including…Apostrophe, Cardhu, Chablis, Cajun, Draco, Erosion, Fern, Flounder, Habenero, Nazca, Owl, Nimbus, Pogo, Tear, Underline. We were also happy to see some new mother’s including Etch-a-sketch, Terrace, and Entropy.