Whale Sightings 5/16/22 to 5/31/22 Please find the Naturalist Notes for the weekend of 5/13/22 to 5/15/22 from the onboard team of naturalists for our New England Whale Watching tour in partnership with the New England Aquarium.
10 am Whale Sightings
This morning, the 10 am whale watch headed out towards Stellwagen bank in search of whales. We were a little nervous when we ran into some fog in the Harbor, but we were hopeful that the fog would clear by the time we reached Stellwagen. We must have had a very lucky group of passengers on board, because by the time we reached the middle of Stellwagen Bank, the fog had lifted! We were greeted by a surface active humpback whale, whose identity remains a mystery. This individual breached at least 4 times as we approached! The activity quickly slowed down, but this humpback was not done impressing our passengers. We spent the rest of our trip being mugged by this humpback and got to hang out motionless with the boat out of gear while this individual greeted passengers on all sides with close approaches, spending a significant amount of time between the pulpits, and travelling back and forth underneath us. This humpback began to travel away from us, and we were quickly running out of time, and reluctantly had to head home to Boston.
Overall, a fantastic day on the water!
Sydney, David, and Eman
The Asteria headed out to Stellwagen Bank today in search of wildlife. We made our way from north to south in search of whales, getting some gorgeous views of Provincetown and the Pilgrim Monument in the process. We got some brief looks at a passing Minke Whale before we decided to head east, hoping to find some animals further offshore. Once a little further into the sanctuary, we spotted a blow! We found ourselves in the presence of a Humpback Whale mom and calf pair. When mom lifted her tail flukes out of the water, we were overjoyed to see that our mother was Nile! She and her calf spent a great deal of time next to our boat, surfacing on both sides to the delight of our passengers. When Nile would take a deeper dive, the curious calf spent most of its time at the surface, seemingly as curious of us as we were of them. After saying goodbye to our mother and calf pair, we had to start making our way back to Boston. All in all, a remarkable day on the water!
David, Mira, Eman, Maddie & Addy
After a few days of minimal sightings, the 10am whale watch headed out on the Asteria towards Stellwagen Bank in hopes of seeing wildlife. Despite being in the middle of the ocean, we were greeted by phenomenal weather conditions – glassy seas and amazing visibility.
We started off our trip with some great looks at grey seals. These seals were a common theme of trip – and by the end of our trip we saw 61 seals. These seals were scattered across Stellwagen Bank and provided a constant stream of entertainment for our passengers. We soon found a pair of fin whales, which turned out to be a mom and calf pair! The calf was very curious of our boat, and we got amazing looks at this “little” calf when it popped up right off the port side.
We then decided to search further south and spotted a mass of bird activity. To our ecstatic surprise, we found a group of four humpbacks! In the midst of birds and bubbles, we saw the humpback Glo-Stick engage in a flurry of kick-feeding. This large female kick-fed nonstop and would come up with mouthfuls of fish alongside another humpback – Tornado. Alongside these two large females, we also saw two smaller whales! One of these whales was a confirmed calf – and we got to see this calf erupt in a bout of surface activity – breaching and lobtailing. It was difficult to determine who this little calf belonged too, or if the second smaller whale was another calf ora juvenile, as these whales weaved in and out in spurts of feeding or surface activity. These whales were so active, that we saw multiple bait balls form with fish splashing at the surface – as the hungry whales pushed the fish to the top of the water column.
With fish and whales flying, we reluctantly turned back to Boston.
What a spectacular day!!
Kate, Mira, and Gracie
10 am Whale Sightings
We were so excited to return to the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank aboard the Sanctuary after a rough and unpredictable weekend. As soon as we reached our target destination, we encountered a group of about 15 grey seals, and among them was a hungry minke whale. It was clear that the seals and the minke were taking advantage of the fish, the seals repeatedly making forceful dives and the minke circling the area while occasionally lunging. After some time with this unique grouping, we made our way over toward a pair of blows, but not before we were interrupted by another curious minke whale! This whale approached us quickly, and we paused our course of travel to let it safely pass, while we enjoyed some close looks at this species. Upon reaching the pair of whales, we discovered it was humpback whale Tornado with her 2022 Calf! At first, they traveled slowly, but soon Tornado began her extravagant kick feeding activity, stirring up fish and attracting several hungry birds and more seals! Kick feeding is always a fun behavior to watch, and Tornado’s take on the butterfly stroke as part of her method was quite the spectacle. Amidst the feeding chaos, her calf surprised us with a full spinning breach! A fin whale cruised by, and we crossed paths with several other minke whales and grey seals. We slowly started to make our way out of the area, when a passenger noticed the cutest little stowaway, a common yellowthroat! (See photo) Though we would never expect to see songbirds on a whale watch, it is not unusual for stray ones to take refuge on a vessel as they prepare to find their way home. Those on board were super respectful of its’ space but enjoyed the unique opportunity to see this bird up close.
Ashlyn, Sydney, and Addy
The Asteria headed to the Southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other wildlife. As we approached, we got a brief look at a passing Minke Whale before sighting some blows further in the distance. As we approached, we saw one Humpback Whale kick-feeding, while another was busy flipper slapping! As we got closer, we were thrilled to see we had found a mother and calf pair, the mother being a whale named Tornado. Among them, we were delighted to find an enormous group of Grey Seals! As Tornado settled into some deeper dives, the calf remained at the surface, happily flipper slapping, with the occasional lobtail and lazy breach thrown in here and there. It was so nice to see this calf being so playful after a few days of less than desirable weather conditions on the bank. As Tornado came back to the surface, the calf headed back over to her side and the two travelled together at the surface for a time. Suddenly, the calf broke off from its mother’s side and headed towards our boat, giving the passengers an incredible look at the adorable young whale, all the while being surrounded by our curious seals! As the calf moved away and the duo travelled further to the south, we began to make our way back to Boston. It was an incredible day out on the water!
David, Colin & Maddie
10 am whale watch
Yesterday aboard the Asteria we were able to get out before the seas picked up, and were treated to a wonderful sighting of a pair of adult fin whales! Taking short dives and even approaching out bow, it was a great chance to observer their different asymmetrical chevron patterns, and unique shaped dorsal fins! We also spotted several grey seals and a minke whale, making it a three species day!
Laura H. & Gracie
The Sanctuary headed out with a group of very hearty passengers to Stellwagen Bank in search of marine life. As we approached the southwest corner, we encountered a very dense bank of fog. Despite the complete lack of visibility, we diligently pushed on, hopeful that we would still encounter some wildlife. As we moved about, we caught a glimpse of two curious Grey Seals before seeing the dark steely colored back of a Minke Whale! We were in luck, as there were a couple others in the immediate area too. Despite their elusive tendencies, these Minke Whales came close to the boat on all sides, giving us some rare, good looks at these sneaky animals. One even seemed to lift it’s head up entirely out of the water when surfacing, a new sight for all of us! The fog remained constant, but we even saw a few more Grey Seals among our trio of whales. Even with the poor visibility, we were able to have a remarkable time on the water before we had to turn back home for Boston!
David & Eman
This morning the 10 am whale watch headed out in search of whales, and after quite a bit of searching, ended up on the Southwest corner of Stellwagen bank in the presence of some very charismatic minke whales! We started off with a solo minke who surprised passengers with a couple close approaches before starting to move away from us. We saw some more minkes ahead and continued forward, where we found ourselves surrounded by 3 minke whales! These whales surfaced almost simultaneously on all sides of us, allowing all passengers on board the opportunity to get some fantastic looks at these normally elusive whales. We spent some more time being circled by these 3 whales before they began to move away from us, and we had to head home. In total, we managed to see 11 minke whales, and at least 3 grey seals during our trip!
Overall a great day to be out on the water!
Sydney, Laura, and Rachel
We left the dock with the general mindset of driving until we found humpbacks, and while the ride was long, it was so, so worth it! We came upon three humpbacks well up to the north on Jeffreys Ledge. Dross was the first to fluke and quickly began swimming off to find fish, so we followed her for a bit and watched her blow her bubble arcs, a bit of a spin-off of more commonly sighted bubble nets. We turned back to the east and watched Owl and her little calf for the remainder of our trip, with a few sporadic bubble clouds from mom. She is noticeably skinny, which is normal for nursing mothers who have been fasting all winter, but her vessel strike scar from years ago really looks harsh in her current condition and hopefully she will find lots of fish in the coming months to pack on the blubber layer so important for the whales’ health.
As for the calf, it stuck right next to Mom’s side… until it decided to take a little adventure and investigate the boat! It swam right over to us, first swimming alongside in one direction before making a 180* turn and going back down the port side. After a few big breaths and some incredible looks at this little baby, we slowly cruised away and rode back to Boston with some happy passengers who were treated to a wonderful afternoon.
Laura L., Sydney, and Rachel
3:30pm Whale Sightings
The 3:30pm whale watch headed toward Jeffery’s Ledge, where we came across four scattered humpback whales. We started with a lone traveling humpback named Picket. Shortly after, our attention was turned to a pair of humpbacks, which turned out to be Owl and her 2022 calf. They circled the area for a while, before Owl emerged through a deep bubble cloud. She fed for a little longer before taking a break to nurse her calf. Unfortunately, time always wins and we turned back toward Boston to begin the ride home.
Ashlyn, Addy, and Gracie
Today we ventured to the far north at Jeffrey’s Ledge. We were delighted to come upon Nine! She was traveling around the area in a wide oval and most likely sub-surface feeding. The passengers were so excited to watch her high fluking dives. As a reminder, make sure that you always follow Whale Sense guidelines when watching whales from your personal vessels. Thoroughly satisfied with our whale time, we returned to a much hotter Boston than we left. It’s always an adventure in the Gulf of Maine!
Mira, David, Ashlyn, Maddie, and Rachel
11 am Whale Watch
This morning the 11 am whale watch headed out to Jefferies ledge in search of cetaceans, and we were not disappointed! We found ourselves in the presence of a humpback whale named Nine! She was likely busy feeding below the waves, evidenced by the many bait balls around us. We got some great looks at a few beautiful fluking dives before we had to make our way home to Boston.
The fantastic sighting conditions, smooth seas, and our time with Nine added up to a wonderful trip on Jefferies Ledge!
Sydney, Colin, Eman, and Addy
The Asteria headed out to Jeffrey’s Ledge in search of whales and other marine life. As we got on scene, we briefly encountered a passing Minke Whale, before seeing the bushy blow of a Humpback Whale. Upon closer inspection, we discovered it to be a female named Nine. She spent most of the time feeding on the abundant baitfish balls close to the surface, coming up on her side and even lifting her flipper out of the water! These fish were jumping out of the water all around her as she surfaced, and we even got an up-close look at one of these bait balls right next to our boat (photo). Nine seemed to have this whole area to herself, moving all around and giving us some fantastic looks at her. As the sun began to set, we had to head for home, but not before getting another quick look at a Minke Whale before we headed to the dock. It was a great day on the water!
David, Mira, Maddie & Rachel
3:30pm Whale Watch
Today aboard the Sanctuary, the 330pm whale watch made its way towards Jeffrey’s Ledge in search of whales and other marine life. After a little bit of a ride, we spotted a blow. This blow turned out to be from Nine the humpback whale! She was taking very short dives and popping up right near the boat! After several beautiful fluking dives from Nine we had to make our way back to Boston. It was a really awesome day out on Jeffrey’s Ledge!
Colin, Sydney, Eman, and Addy
波士顿观鲸：博物学家笔记 - 5/13/22至5/15/22