Naturalist Notes 9-20-21 to 9-26-21

Whale breaching the surface of the water.

Whale Watch Sightings 09/20/21 through 09/26/21

Please find the Naturalist Notes for the week of 09/20/21 to 09/26/21 from the onboard team of naturalists for our New England Whale Watching tour in partnership with the New England Aquarium. 

09/20/21

10:00am Whale Watch Sightings

Today aboard the Asteria, the 10am whale watch made its way out towards the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. On the way out of the harbor, we got a brief look at a minke whale and a Mola mola. As we got to the bank we spotted several blows in the area. We started on a humpback whale named Crystal who was flipper slapping! Once Crystal stopped, we went on to watch Dyad and her 2021 calf who gave us a spectacular close approach. We got a brief sighting of Tripod the humpback before we started to leave the area. On the way home however, we got a great look at Bounce the humpback who gave us a beautiful fluking dive. We got a quick pass by Dross and her 2021 calf before we really had to head back to Boston. It was a really, really fantastic day out on Stellwagen!
Laura L., Heidi, and Alexis

Colin and Sulmaan

 

09/21/21

10:00am Whale Watch Sightings

The swells were memorable today but we hugged the coastline almost all the way to Gloucester before turning to the south and edging our way to the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. Two small groups of dolphins were spotted before we were able to slow down and ride out the waves while we searched for the larger whales. Finally, we spotted a pair of blows and found ourselves in the company of humpbacks Tripod and Crystal as they swam to the south. They dove in our direction and surfaced close off the port side as they continued slowly on their way, allowing us some great looks as they breathed and dove. A few other boats were watching whales with us and at one point approached the pair rather closely. It was difficult from our angle and distance to see how close they were, but Tripod suddenly dove forcefully and followed with four consecutive chin breaches before a short bout of flipper slapping. I, of course, cannot say for certain, but the chain of events certainly seemed related and passengers were able to see first-hand how we humans might have implications on wildlife behavior, intentional or otherwise. Once the whales were at a bit of a distance from the boat they seemed to resume their travels and we made our own moves back to Boston.

Laura L., Heidi, and Alexis

 

09/22/21

10:00am Whale Watch Sightings

A hardy group of passengers embarked on the m/v Asteria as we made our way towards the southern corner of Stellwagen Bank. A few splashes caught our attention, but these surface-active whales seemed to tire themselves out and we arrived to find a trio of logging humpbacks. These whales stayed at or just under the surface for quite some time and we enjoyed fantastic looks at these sleepy whales. Our group included Orbit, her calf and Buckshot, the latter of which is a whale we had yet to see this year! A few other spouts caught our attention and as we drove around the bank, two blue sharks were spotted! We got brief looks at another mom and calf pair before reuniting with our original trio again. We made our way back towards land, content after a fun day at sea.

Bruna, Alexis & Sulmaan

 

09/23/21

10:00am Whale Watch Sightings

Today aboard the Sanctuary we headed to the SW corner of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary on a blustery fall day. As we arrived to the corner, we were treated to big splashes from head breaching! This breaching whale was male veteran humpback Brine, one of Salt’s calves from the eighties. It’s always exciting to see a whale from this famous lineage! After spending time with Brine, we moved on to find one of our favorite “known” unknowns of the season – an older juvenile we’ve nicknamed “Chunk”. This whale did a turn at the surface before beginning some deep feeding dives. On our way home, we spotted two harbor seals in the harbor.

A great day!

Laura H, Laura L, Alexis, and Heidi

 

09/25/21

10:00am Whale Watch Sightings

The Asteria headed to the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales. With a very hearty group of passengers, we caught some glimpses of some harbor porpoises before spotting some scattered blows ahead of us. Within minutes, we found ourselves surrounded by humpback whales. Among them were some fan favorites of the bank, including Bounce, Crown, Tripod, Dross and her calf! While we found whales in every direction, Bounce stole the show, treating us to a few bouts of kick-feeding and even surprising us with an open mouthful of fish (photo credit to fellow naturalist Bruna Silva). As she seemed to take a break from feeding, she gave us some beautiful close approaches before moving along on her way. Tripod and Crown were moving at a pretty good clip, and Dross and calf gave us a lovely close approach before we did have to start making our way back to Boston. Despite the swells, it was a great morning on the water!

Despite the manageable conditions in the morning, they began to deteriorate this afternoon. Due to building sea conditions throughout the afternoon, the 2:30 whale watch was cancelled.

Until Next Time!

David, Bruna & Sulmaan

 

 

More Images From This Week

 

 

Center for Coastal Studies Logo
Boston Harbor City Cruises proudly contributes its data to the GOM Humpback Whale Catalog curated by Center for Coastal Studies.
Whale Sense Logo
As a proud member of Whale Sense (whalesense.org), we are committed to responsible whale watching practices.  All photos were taken in compliance with established guidelines and regulations.