July 8, 2018

July 8th, 2018

Today we were stopped quite quickly on our way out of Gloucester harbor.  We started with a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins, which we seem to be seeing a fair amount of lately.  Then, a few miles further south, we found two humpbacks logging (sleeping) at the surface.  One of the animals was Nine, and we’re still working on identifying the second animal.  We moved further down, finally getting to the Bank, and got a big breach from Cardhu.  We were reminded again when you’re watching wild animals they are unpredictable and everything changed for the afternoon trip.  We didn’t find anything before we got to the Bank, and the first whale we found was Hancock.  We continued further south and found two more humpbacks before needing to head back to the dock for the night.

July 7, 2018

July 8th, 2018

This morning we traveled to the southern end of Jeffreys Ledge. We started off our trip with some amazing looks at a fin whale traveling right next to the boat. There were a few minke whales traveling through the area as well. We spotted Pinball in the area along with Doublet and Satula. As if the trip couldn’t get any better, we spotted Atlantic white-sided dolphins about a mile away from us. We ended our trip watching Satula and Pinball. While waiting for the pair, we saw a harbor seal right next to our boat. That means we saw 5 different marine mammal species this morning! Amazing day!

This afternoon on our way to Jeffreys Ledge we started with amazing looks at a fin whale moving through the area. We spotted a couple minke whales in the area as well. We watched Satula and Nine traveling with another individual. We got some amazing close looks at the pair logging (taking a nap) right next to our boat. It’s always amazing to see two whales interacting with each other. 3 species day this afternoon!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

July 6th, 2018

From Naturalist Laura:

Another day of scorching heat on land added to the allure of getting offshore.  On both trips today we had whales well north of Stellwagen (Gondolier and Atlantic white-sided dolphins on the first trip, Doublet on the second trip), and those whales were heading north.  But, whales were still feeding on the bank.  Hancock and Pleats are no longer hanging out together; Pleats was feeding with Shuffleboard on both trips yesterday.  We’ve started to see some of what I consider the old regulars in the last few days: Cardhu, Soot, Doric, and Ampersand.

Wed, July 4, 2018

July 6th, 2018

From Naturalist Beth:

Happy July 4th! Today was a great day out on the water. The weather was perfect and the whales were nearby on Stellwagen Bank. There were lots of hungry whales there! We spent time closely watching Pinball with 3 minke whales and 1 large fin whale in the area. Shuffleboard and Pleats were feeding together while a few other single humpback whales passed through the area. All in all we sighted 5 minke whales, 5 fin whales, and closely watched 6 different humpback whales, but there were at least 4-5 more in the area that we didn’t get to see. Great way to start the day!

This afternoon we found Pinball again, she had moved in closer to Gloucester Harbor, only about 6 miles outside of the mouth of the harbor. She was there with two male whales, Satula and Gondolier, who had arrived in the area between trips. All three were consistently feeding. We could actually see the schools of fish the whales were feeding on darting around beneath the surface. All three whales gave us incredible close looks at each of their unique bubble feeding behavior sequences. Two different minke whales passed through the area as well. Towards the end of our trip, Captain Dave noticed a LARGE container ship heading our way from Boston Harbor. If the ship had continued on its current course it would be passing through the area where Pinball was feeding. Captain Dave hailed the ship and the ship agreed to change its course to avoid a potentially fatal collision. The course change worked! We watched as the ship passed by outside of the area where Pinball was feeding. We stayed for a couple more looks at Pinball, all of us thankful that she was able to continue to feed safely. Way to go, Captain Dave!

Monday, July 2, 2018

July 4th, 2018

From Naturalist Laura:

Stellwagen Bank really feels like it is beginning to come alive.  Even just the little things, like the arrival of Wilson’s Storm Petrels, adds to the anticipation of hopefully great trips ahead.  Today we had a group of four fin whales, plus Shuffleboard, Nine, Doublet, Pleats, Hancock, Cardhu, Dross and calf.  Dross’ calf spent most of the second trip seemingly imitating Dross’ feeding style, that is when it wasn’t following around Cardhu instead.

Friday, June 29, 2018

July 4th, 2018

From Naturalist Beth:

Today we started making our way to the southern end of Jeffreys Ledge, there we found Gondolier traveling through the area. He was taking long dives and only staying up for a few breaths. Luckily, our captain received a report of whales on the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. The best part about whale watching out of Gloucester is having both feeding grounds so close! We were able to make it Stellwagen from Jeffreys Ledge in about a half hour. It was definitely worth it! There we found 5 different humpback whales feeding! When we first arrived in the area we found Cardhu, Epee, and Pleats traveling together. Shuffleboard and Hancock were both feeding on their own. Shuffleboard was the highlight of our trip, she surfaced right next to the boat multiple times. It was such a calm day we could see her swim right by our boat, turning on her side to give us a quick look. Amazing day out on the water!

Wed, June 27, 2018

June 27th, 2018

From Naturalist Beth:

This morning we made our way to Jeffreys Ledge, just before the southern end of the ledge we found about 10 different humpback whales! Some of our favorites from yesterday were still in the area, Spoon and calf, Wigwam and calf, and Pinball (who is adoptable!).

Pinball

We also spotted a male humpback whale named Sedge. Spoon and her calf were hanging just beneath the surface for close to a half hour. The pair passed underneath our boat multiple times. Spoon turned on her side a brought her flipper clear out of the water, giving us a great look!

Spoon's flipper

Wigwam and her calf were traveling through the area, Wigwam’s calf rolled belly up at the surface right next to our boat! We ended our trip with great looks at Pinball. Great day out on the water!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

June 27th, 2018

From Naturalist Beth:

Today was such an amazing day out on the water, I don’t even know where to begin! We left Gloucester Harbor on our way to Jeffrey’s Ledge but quickly found Scylla, the humpback whale, only 4 miles outside of the harbor. She surfaced regularly right next to the boat, staying up for multiple breaths. Right nearby we spotted a large school of mackerel, definitely the reason why Scylla chose that spot this morning. It was amazing to see her with the Cape Ann shoreline in the background.

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A harbor seal popped up right next to our boat too, likely looking to grab a mackerel snack as well. About 6 miles away we found 6 MORE humpback whales. We started with Spoon and her calf logging. While they were snoozing, we were able to get some quiet, amazing looks at the pair. Wigwam and her calf weren’t far away, this pair was much more active. The calf engaged in surface behavior for about 45 minutes. Flipper slapping, rolling belly up, back breaching, and tail breaching. The calf even swam right by our boat, giving us a close look. It was hard to tell who was watching who.

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Nine and Pinball were also in the area, bringing our total up to 7 different humpback whales. 2-3 minke whales passed through the area as well. The perfect weather made the day even better. One of the best days we’ve had so far this season!

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June 23, 2018

June 24th, 2018

From Naturalist Beth:

This morning we traveled to the NW corner of Stellwagen Bank and found Nine, a female humpback whale, feeding. She surfaced right next to the boat filtering out the saltwater. About 5 miles away we found Dross and her calf, the calf is very independent already. It was breached multiple times right next to the boat while mom fed about a 1/2 mile away. It was amazing to watch this young whale engage in surface active behavior.

This afternoon we decided to travel towards the southern end of Jeffrey’s Ledge. We had some reports in the area and wanted to see what else we could find out on the water today. We lucked out! We had a pod of about 50-75 dolphins traveling with two fin whales. It’s always amazing to see two different species interact with each other. The Atlantic white-sided dolphin surfaced right under our bow and the fin whales right next to the boat. About 3 miles away we found Pinball, the humpback whale. One of our “adopt-a-whales!” She’s a 29-year-old female who we look forward to seeing year after year. She was feeding and traveled right underneath our bow. We got some amazing looks at an old favorite! Great day!

June 22, 2018

June 24th, 2018

From Naturalist Beth

Today we traveled just south of the NW corner of Stellwagen Bank. There we found 3 different humpback whales. We started off our trip with incredible close looks at Shuffleboard feeding right next to the boat. She gave us a surprise first look, surging to the surface with her mouth wide open! We also watched Measles and Nine feeding in the area as well. All three females gave us some impressive looks at the classic humpback whale bubble feeding technique. It was a great day out on the water!