Sat, Sept 17

September 18th, 2016

It was a beautiful day out on Stellwagon Bank. For our morning trip we headed south and started out the day with a small pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins. They were hard to spot given the choppy conditions but it was great to see them thriving. We then passed by a small harbor seal pup shortly after. When we reached our destination we first spent some time with a humpback named Lollipop, a three year old whale.  Lollipop gave us some great views of the underside of his/her tail. We then moved on to a humpback named UFO. UFO is easily identified by the circular scar behind its blowhole. UFO made the passengers trip by surfacing many times right next to the boat.

The afternoon was just as beautiful as the morning trip. We spent a full hour with four humpback whales. Three out of four were associating in a trio. Those three included Lollipop, Infinity and Habenero. They were sporadically moving around in all different directions, tail breaching and snaking, which means they were most likely feeding. UFO was also in the area but was not associating with the trio. UFO gave the passengers a real good show when he/she did a spinning head breach right in front of the bow of the boat! To wrap up our trip, while we were about to dock up the boat, a full-grown harbor seal popped right up out of the water to check us out.

Tuesday, Sept 13

September 13th, 2016

Today we decided to mix things up a bit and headed north towards the vicinity of Jeffreys Ledge. As was per usual up this way, the whales were well west of the actual Ledge.  We found two humpback whales who were together at first with a minke whale in close proximity to the pair. These were Jabiru and Fulcrum, both adult females.  After a few surfacings together, the pair broke up, each going their separate way. There were other blows around- more humpback whales- but they seemed to be a bit busy, disappearing just as soon as they appeared.  We got a close look at one of the minke whales as it crossed our bow!  Then we decided to explore some other areas to see what else we could find but to no avail.  We will be tied to the dock for the next couple of days but are looking forward to searching for whales again on Friday!

Saturday, Sept 10

September 11th, 2016

This morning we started our trip on the NW corner of Stellwagen Bank. We found London traveling along with an ocean sunfish in the area. We decided to continue on down to the SW corner of Stellwagen Bank. There we found about 12 humpbacks whales in the area. We watched a group of 5 to start off our trip including Canopy, Perseid, Jabiru, Aerospace, and Jupiter. We spotted some flipper slapping about 1/4 mile away, we decided to go take a look and ended up with amazing looks at Music and her calf. Music continued to flipper slap with her calf by her side. We got some amazing close looks.

This afternoon we had reports of whales on the southern end of Jeffrey’s Ledge. We decided to go on another adventure to see what we could find. The gamble was worth it! We found 7 humpback whales in the area, a group of 4, Ravine and calf, Crisscross, and Pleats. All the whales were traveling together, the calf tail breached once. We finished the trip with Storm and her calf. The pair was logging (taking a snooze) at the surface when we first spotted them. They continued to nap, we were granted amazing close looks at Storm and her calf. Right before we left, Storm began flipper slapping. I had to remind the passengers that we did not have her trained to say “goodbye.” It was a gorgeous evening out on the water!

Friday, Sept 9

September 11th, 2016

Today we went to the NW corner of Stellwagen Bank, it was our first trip out to find whales after the tropical storm. We were looking forward to the adventure! We started off the trip with a small pod of common dolphins. We got some amazing looks! We spent the rest of the afternoon with UFO and another unidentified juvenile humpback whale. The whales were traveling, likely deep feeding as well. Great first day back on the water!UFO DSC_8089

September 1

September 1st, 2016

Our sightings have been consistently good (hopefully I’m not jinxing anything!), and the individuals we are seeing are dependable, as well.  We spent our afternoon on the NW corner with Echo and calf, Etch-a-sketch and calf, Music and calf, Milkweed, A-plus, Perseid, Hancock, Pumba, Pepper, Apex, and Geometry.  The patches of sand lance are thick, and visible at the surface; the fish finder was showing dense patches of bait beginning at about 40 feet and stretching all the way to the sea floor!

August 31

September 1st, 2016

Even though August ended today, and we’re heading into Labor Day weekend – the unofficial end of summer, Stellwagen Bank is still packed with whales.  Today we had at least 30 including Cajun, Pele, Jabiru, Milkweed, Pepper, A-plus, Rapier’s 2009 calf, Perseid, Apex, Nile and calf, just to name a few.  The fish finder showed lots of food, mostly along the bottom, which is what we would expect given the large “gangs” of whales surging to the surface together, then diving but staying in the same general area.  Let’s hope the whales stick around for the holiday weekend!

August 30

August 30th, 2016

The whales have certainly been hungry lately! Perhaps they are stocking up for their lean upcoming winter. We had a fantastic afternoon on Stellwagen Bank again.  In addition to two minke whales, we found at least 9 different humpback whales including Echo and her calf, Coral, Glo-Stick, Midnight, Pleats (not Piano- sorry, I got some bad intel and didn’t double check it), Daffodil and a few others that I am still working on. The kick-feeding, bubble clouds, bubble nets and open-mouth feeding were amazing!  Whales were in every direction. At one point, our pair turned into a group of four! The whales were doing a whole lot of moving around and changing groups.  And then, just like we planned it, we ended our trip with Echo and her calf breaching, one right after the other! Beautiful!

August 29

August 29th, 2016

Great whales this morning! We came into an area where 3 whales quickly turned to 4 and before we knew it there were whales in every direction! We estimate about 15 or so. We got to first spend time with a group of 4 humpback whales who came right up to the boat a few times and swam right underneath our bow! We ID’ed part of this group as Jabiru, Pele and A-Plus.

We then saw a Mother and calf pair. The mother was ID’ed as Etch-A-Sketch! We got wonderful looks at the pair while they swam down the side of the boat. We saw a few single whales in the area before heading to a pair who was flipper slapping! One of these whales was UFO and the other Coral. On our way back in we stopped on the group of 4 again and saw 5 or more blows as we left the area.

Out afternoon trip took us out to the same area to see some of the same whales and a few others. Except this time they were feeding at the surface of the water! We had a feeding frenzy with multiple whale surfacing very close to the boat. Etch-A-Sketch came mouth open just feet from our bow! Her calf was nearby trying to keep busy while mom fed, at one point it turned right towards the bow and definitely was checking us out.

Most of the whales were kick feeding meaning they would slap the surface of the water with their tails to stun the fish and then appear with their mouth open wide right through the cloud of white water. We spent the whole trip in practically the same spot since more whales kept joining the area. We were able to identify a couple of the whales including Etch-a-Sketch, her calf, Infinity, Coral and UFO. Etch-a-Sketch’s calf at the end, right as we were leaving, decided to hold us hostage by slapping the surface of the water with its tail multiple times getting closer to the boat every couple slaps. It also did a few tail breaches!

Surface feeding is one of my favorite things to watch these whales do and it was a great way to start off the week. We hope you’ll join us this week as well as Labor Day Weekend as our season starts heading towards the end!

August 27

August 28th, 2016

Our morning trip took us not too far into Stellwagen Bank. We found a finback whale just past some humpbacks, so we quickly got some looks before turning back towards the humpbacks.

Before making it to the humpbacks we saw another finback whale and a minke whale. There were two humpback whales hanging out together, one was ID’ed as A-Plus. These two were surfacing feeding using bubble clouds and came right up to the boat several times for some amazing looks at their entire bodies!

We spent most of the morning with this pair but we did get some looks at a third humpback whale in the area. This one we saw the their day but is still unidentified. On our way back in we came across a small pod of toothed whales! Whether these were harbor porpoises or A

tlantic white sided dolphins we aren’t entirely sure. They had characteristics of both and I never got a clear enough photo of them. Either way still a fun sight!

Our afternoon trip took us to the same area, where A-Plus was now hanging out with a different humpback whale ID’ed as UFO. We spent some time with this pair before heading to not one but three feeding finback whales! It was really cool to see this trio of giants lunge feeding at the surface together. After some time they split up and headed towards where the humpback pair was. At one point we had fin whales on our left and humpbacks on our right!

We got wonderful close up looks at the fin whale, who rolled over to show us it’s white belly! After close looks we shifted our focus to the humpback whales. The pair fluked close by, gave us great looks and then we turned and headed towards home. Such a beautiful day out there!

Aug 26

August 26th, 2016

What a great day!  It was so hot on the dock before we departed, but nice and cool offshore!  We also had nice, calm seas which made for great spotting conditions.

Not far out of the harbor, we saw two groups of harbor porpoises. This must have been a sign of the great things to come. We continued on and saw a couple minke whales, then a fin in the water. We thought it was a basking shark, which are fairly common, but it turned out to be a blue shark!

As we headed further south, we started seeing blows. Soon, there were humpbacks all around us! There were at least 8 whales in the area, but we spent most of our time with Echo and calf, who were very active. At one point, both even breached several times, within seconds of each other – not something you get to see every day!  Echo also did some flipper-slapping and both came close to the boat. They were joined by Perseid at one point.

Other whales in the area included Hancock, Cajun, and a few other whales we haven’t yet identified!  We also had some great looks at a harbor seal pup that was swimming around the boat!