August 19, 2017

August 22nd, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

This morning we traveled to the southwestern end of Stellwagen Bank. We started our trip with amazing looks at Cajun and Perseid traveling with their calves. Both of the calves surfaced right next to our boat. You could clearly see the whole whale beneath the surface, definitely once in a lifetime looks! We also watched Nile, Sprinkles, and Aerospace traveling together.

This afternoon the fog was rolling in down south. We spotted two single humpback whales that were taking long dives, spending a lot of time beneath the surface. Through the fog, we eventually found Nile, Sprinkles, and Aerospace. They surfaced right next to the boat and traveled right underneath us. We also saw Cajun and Perseid traveling with their calves.

August 18, 2017

August 22nd, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

This morning we traveled to the southern end of Stellwagen Bank, there we started our trip with two humpback whales, Timberline and UFO. Timberline came right over to the boat, tail breached off our bow, and hung right underneath our boat. Timberline turned over to get a better look at our boat, we could clearly see the whale’s eye! Close to boat behavior is one of the most amazing things to see out on the water. That would have been enough, but we moved into an area with another 12-15 whales. Three calves in the area, Cajun’s calf, Hancock’s calf, and Perseid’s calf were all tail breaching. The adults were deep feeding, one of the coming up filtering at the surface. We also saw Aerospace, Etch-a-Sketch, Eruption, and Venom. It was an incredible morning!

Aug 15, 2017

August 15th, 2017

From Naturalist Dianna:

This morning we traveled 32 miles to find a fantastic pile of humpback whales! We had a group of 5, a trio, a couple of pairs and some singletons all around the boat! You know it’s a great trip when the boat barely has to move to see whales!

This afternoon, we headed to the same area and found some of the same whales. For us as researchers, it’s really interesting to see which whales are hanging out together, and which is showing dominant behavior!  We ended our day with a full  breach from one of the calves and then repeated tail-breaches from another calf! Fantastic day!

Aug 14, 2017

August 15th, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

This morning we traveled far down on the southern end of Stellwagen Bank and found 6 different humpback whales. We started off with Ursa and her calf traveling with an unknown individual. Ursa was first sighted here in 1984, so she is at least 33 years old! The three stayed at the surface for over 20 minutes! We were able to get some amazing looks at the three whales right next to our boat. We spotted another single humpback whale and another mother, Reflection, and her calf. We stayed with the pair for a few minutes before heading back to Gloucester.

This afternoon, the whales we found 15 different humpback whales! They were all deep feeding. We spotted Tectonic, Piano, Milkweed, and Eruption to name a few. We watched as two pairs of whales joined to make a group of four right next to our boat. There was a whale flipper slapping in the area as well as a whale breaching off in the distance. It was a gorgeous afternoon out on the water!

Aug 13, 2017

August 15th, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

This morning we found whales on the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. We started off the trip watching Pitcher feeding. She was blowing bubbles, we could even see her filtering out the saltwater on a few looks! There was another single humpback whale in the area feeding as well. We found a whale logging on the surface that quickly went down on a dive when we arrived. But surfaced again tail breaching! The whale tail breached, flipper slapped, and spent a lot of time belly up. We were even able to take photographs of this whale belly up and discovered that she is a female humpback whale. Female humpback whales have a hemispherical lobe on their underside down by their tails, a physical feature that is absent in males. It was a great morning out on the water.

This afternoon we found Glo-stick and her calf feeding on the southern end of Stellwagen Bank. It was amazing to watch this young calf practice feeding on fish. The calf has been reliant on Glo-stick’s milk throughout the summer but will start to feed on solid food towards the end of the season. Glo-stick was blowing bubbles to corral the fish, shortly after both she and her calf surfaced in the bubble cloud. We moved on to watch a trio of humpback whales including Samara. Both Samara and Glo-stick were born to the same female, Scylla, 11 years apart! The trio was traveling through the area. It was a perfect day for whale watching!

Aug 11, 2017

August 12th, 2017

From Naturalist Rebeca:

This morning we had a slow start and found a lone humpback whale IDed as Nuages! Nuages means clouds in French, for some white puffy spots on its fluke. Although it was by itself, the calm ocean conditions gave us some fantastic looks at the humpback. You could see its entire body right below the water surface.

The afternoon trip took us to the same area where 1 blow turned into 3! We have a trio made up of Salt, Columbia, and Fern! I had personally never seen Salt so it was an honor to see the first humpback ever named. What was interesting (and in a way funny) was that all these whales were seen for the first time in the 70’s and 80’s and all have lots of calves! It was just a couple of moms hanging out! They all have over 10 calves and Salt and Columbia both have grandkids too.

The trio stayed at the surface for a while, came close to the boat, and gave us beautiful looks at their flukes! It was a beautiful afternoon and we really enjoyed the company of these three humpbacks!

Aug 7, 2017

August 9th, 2017

From Naturalist Beth:

This morning we traveled to Stellwagen Bank and watched Hancock and her calf traveling through the area. The pair took us further south on the bank. Both whales surfaced right next to the boat and spent a lot of time at the surface. We were able to get some amazing looks today. We also saw a minke whale passing through the area as well.

Aug 8, 2017

August 8th, 2017

From Naturalist Dianna:

One of our guests on board today said it best. “It’s not about the quantity of whales, but instead, it’s all about the quality.”  We certainly got a quality whale watch this afternoon!  We heard of a humpback pair near us as we searched for whales. We found this pair, with one of the boats from Boston, and determined that it was a mother with her calf.  The calf repeatedly surfaced by itself, while Mom would come up every 10 minutes or so. After the other boat left, the calf got a little frisky! The calf breached 15 times and even did 2 full barrel rolls, where we got to see those long white flippers!

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The Mom, identified as Diablo, eventually rejoined with her calf and all was back to normal.  The pelagic birds were around as well, including great shearwaters, Cory’s shearwaters and Wilson’s storm petrels! Great mix of activity!! And today we said goodbye to one of our interns who is heading back to college. Kati, I hope you had a fantastic summer and memorable last trip with us!!

Aug 5, 2017

August 8th, 2017

From Naturalist Amy:

This morning we left Gloucester and had a foggy ride down towards the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank where we found humpback whales the previous afternoon. The ride was absolutely worth it as the fog lifted just as we arrived in the area to find at least 7 humpbacks! The whales must have been busy feeding overnight or in the early morning, because nearly all the whales logging, or resting just below the surface! This is a really peaceful time to watch them. We spent most of our time with two whales we know well, Nile and Mostaza. On our way home, a passenger spotted two more blows of humpback whales only 16 miles from Gloucester! A real reminder that whales are always on the move and we can come across them at any point throughout the trip! We also spotted many seabirds, with lots of Wilson’s storm petrels and common terns around the whales.

This afternoon we headed back to an area where we spotted two humpbacks on our way home from our morning trip in hopes that we could identify these and any other humpbacks in the area. We found two humpbacks that may have been our earlier sightings about 16 miles from Gloucester. Since the whales were closer to Gloucester, we were able to spend a very long time observing these two whales as they traveled slowly. We identified the whales as Music and Sanchal, one of Salt’s most recent calves from 2008. We again observed many birds, particularly Wilson’s Storm Petrels fluttering at the surface, disturbing the plankton with their feet before snatching them up. We also saw quite a few juvenile Northern Gannets flying in small groups.

Aug 4, 2017

August 8th, 2017

From Naturalist Amy:

On this beautiful, breezy afternoon we traveled to the SW corner of Stellwagen Bank and found several humpbacks spread around the area. All whales were quite active feeding deep in the water column, we even caught a glimpse of a whale’s bubble net right in front of our boat! There were a few calves in the area, one which flipper-slapping and breaching by the boat. We were able to identify Mogul, Nile, and Buzzard.