Whale Sightings 6/20/22 to 6/28/22 Please find the Naturalist Notes for the week of 6/20/22 to 6/28/22from the onboard team of naturalists for our New England Whale Watching tour in partnership with the New England Aquarium.
Today the Asteria headed to the middle of Stellwagen Bank in search of marine life. Upon arrival, we spotted a passing Fin Whale! This animal was travelling gracefully beneath the surface, likely chasing fish. After some quick looks, we said hello to a curious Grey Seal that came up next to the boat. We then headed further south, seeing the beautiful Cape Cod National Seashore in the distance. We quickly saw blows all around us, focusing on two closest to us. These were two Humpback Whales, a mother and calf pair. Our mother was a well-known female named Nile, who was going on short dives while her calf was rolling around at the surface. We got some great looks at these two before moving on to a larger group of Humpbacks not too far away. We found these to be other well-known Humpbacks, Scylla, Tripod and Valley! They were surfacing in some bubble clouds, letting us know they were very busy feeding. They spent time close to us giving us beautiful views of them. As we started to wind down and head for home, we got a drive-by sighting from one of our favorite humpbacks, Mogul! It was a gorgeous day on the water!
David, Colin & Addy
This morning aboard the Aurora we headed out to the South West Corner of Stellwagen bank in search of whales. We started off our trip with a Fin whale who surprised us off our port side. We got some fantastic looks at this Fin whale, who was taking uncharacteristically short dives, while slowly travelling at the surface, as well as a couple Minke whales who were travelling in the area. We moved on to find a single humpback whose identity remains a mystery, and was taking unpredictable dives, so we decided to move on. We quickly found ourselves with at least 4 humpback whales around us! We spent most of our trip with Clamp, who was busy feeding as evidenced by her bubble clouds. She also delighted passengers with many close approaches, at one point surfacing right off our starboard side with her pleats expanded, before slowly circling the boat, offering passengers the unique experience of being mugged by a humpback whale! We were also treated to some surprise appearances by Scylla, who was quickly travelling throughout the area. We moved on to find a pair of humpback whales who surfaced in the middle of a bubble cloud and turned out to be Tripod and Valley! These whales continued to feed, and we got some fantastic looks at this pair, as well as Scylla who had travelled with us and began to feed a little further ahead of the boat. As we were ready to start making our way home, we got some more bonus looks at these 3 whales, as well as a Mola mola who was flapping its fins at the surface. We reluctantly headed home, more then satisfied with our time on the bank.
The Asteria headed out to the center of Stellwagen Bank and found a familiar fin whale, one of the charter members of the Boston catalog that was established in 2016. We had some awesome looks as it swam relatively slowly and took brief dives and we were even treated to the rare sight of fin whale poop! A minke whale made its way in, then we spotted a second fin whale. It was a great day.
Then we headed further south and WOW. Lots of humpback whales to be found in groups, pairs, and solo. Nile and her calf were joined by Nile’s bestie Pitcher and Flock while longtime re-associates Cajun and Pele swooped in for some fish as well. Music made a very brief appearance- so quick, in fact, that we forgot we had even seen her as that whale was sort of lost in the melee of nearly a dozen more bubble feeding humpbacks. Dyad, Dross, Valley, and Scylla could be seen around us and we got to meet Quote and her little calf as mom blew bubble clouds only 2-3 minutes apart. Considering the gorgeous weather, a fantastic boat full of passengers, and the whale sightings, today was a highlight for sure!
Laura L., David, and Gracie
Happy summer solstice! We had a fantastic afternoon aboard the Aurora in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary! We arrived on the southern edge to find 20-25 humpback whales, which included at least four mother calf pairs. We first spent time with some our of veteran favorites, Cajun and Pele (Cajun is one of the biggest whales I know, easily 55+ feet!). We then happened upon a group of seven humpbacks, which included Nile and calf (her calf was a bit playful approaching the boat!), Venom and calf, Flock, our familiar unknown nicknamed “Chunk”, and Pitcher. We were also surrounded by bait balls of fish, so it was easy to see why there were so many whales. In addition, Clamp gave us a wonderful close to boat look, and we also spotted Dross, Quote and calf. We wrapped up the trip with Tripod and Valley, one which who surprised with a huge breach!
In honor of the solstice, and the incredible diversity that Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary has to offer, NEAq is offering a free outdoor photography exhibit to the public, called “Space to Sea” which explores marine life in the sanctuary from large whales to microscopic phytoplankton. Check out the opening ceremony tomorrow (June 22nd) here. The exhibit will be open through November.
Laura H., Eman, and Addy
This morning the Asteria headed out to the South West corner of Stellwagen bank, and quickly found ourselves in the presence of 15-20 humpback whales. Our passengers braved the wind and waves while we got to spend time with several humpbacks throughout our trip. We were surprised by some lunge feeding, which was coming from Valley and Tripod, who have been seen feeding together over the last several days! These 2 switched to feeding deeper in the water column, while 2 more single whales also began bubble feeding around them. One of these whales turned out to be Music! Some splashing in the distance caught our eye, and we decided to go check it out. We ended up with humpbacks on all sides. Cajun and another whale were feeding on our port side, while 4 other humpbacks popped up on our starboard side! This larger group was made up of Nile, Flock, and another adult who we are still working to ID. While Nile and her associates were feeding, Nile’s 22 Calf was busy engaging in a range of surface activity! The calf breached, tail breached, flipper slapped, lobtailed, and chin slapped at the surface, showing off the full range of surface active behaviors for passengers. We realized we had unfortunately run out of time, and began to slowly make our way home, but were treated to some bonus looks at Pixar who was lobtailing as we made our way out of the area. Overall it was a truly fantastic day on Stellwagen!
Sydney, Laura L., and Caitlin
Today we ventured out to the Southwest Corner of Stellwagen Banks in hopes of finding whales. And we found them! We spent time with many of the humpbacks in the area although there were well over fifteen whales in the vicinity. The humpback whales we spent the most time with were Mogul, Scylla, and Diablo. Before we left the area we watched a pair of whales who turned out to be Pele and Cajun. All of the whales seemed very busy with subsurface feeding and although they didn’t have fluking dives, we were able to ID these whales off of their dorsals. Sunburnt and satisfied, we returned to Boston!
Mira, Liza, and Olivia
Today aboard the Asteria, the 10am whale watch made its way out towards the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. After a little bit of a drive, we spotted several blows in the area. There were multiple humpback whales blowing bubble clouds which was very exciting! We started with a humpback named Clamp who was blowing bubble clouds right next to the boat! We then had a brief sighting of Scylla the humpback before moving on to Quote and her 2022 calf! Quote was spending a lot of time at the surface, and she even come up right in front of the boat several times! The calf was very adorable coming to check out the boat but not straying to far from mom. We also got some more looks at Clamp as well as Mogul the humpback. We finished the trip on another humpback named Dross. Dross was blowing bubbles and even lunged up a few times close to the boat! Right before we left, Dross swam right across our bow and gave us a beautiful fluking dive before we had to head back to Boston. It was a really amazing day out on Stellwagen Bank!
Colin, Mira, and Olivia
It was another fantastic day in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, with a rough estimate of 18-20 humpback whales spotted over the course of the noon whale watch. As we approached, we had whales on either side of us and turned toward the south, spotting bubble clouds and lunging whales almost as far as the eye could see. Mogul treated us to some wonderful, close looks before Quote and her little peanut stole the attention. Valley and Tripod charged were moving around the most, likely picking off one group of fish after another. Dross gave multiple high, fluking dives and consistent bubble clouds, and we even had a few close looks as she surfaced with pleats expanded. Pixar was the farthest south of the group, and Music was joined by Echo 2014 Calf, although as we started to turn back to the west, her trumpeting and posture made it appear that she might not be too happy with the arrangement. Wilson’s storm photos (see photo!), juvenile gannets, great and sooty shearwaters darted the seascape, capping out a beautiful afternoon on the water.
Laura L., Gracie, and Caitlin
Today we ventured out to the Southwest Corner on the Asteria in search of cetaceans. Before we even reached the bank we saw the long, tall blow of a finwhale! This finwhale was going on short dives and heading in the same direction as us: towards the humpbacks. As such we were excited to see the finwhale periodically throughout the trip. We then met up with a pair of humpback whales who were Pitcher and A-Plus. We went by a humpback we have not identified yet. Next we came upon Cajun, Pele, and GOM-1504 actively feeding. Bait balls of mackerel swam near the surface. In the distance Shuffleboard and Music were flipper flapping. We also watched Quote and her calf go on dives further out. Diablo swam past and with that it was time to leave the Bank. Satisfied and sunburnt, we returned to Boston!
Mira, Sydney, and Gracie
The Aurora made its way to the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of marine life. Upon arrival, with a beautiful view of Cape Cod in the distance, we spotted our first blow! It was a Humpback Whale named Music, who was just resting under the surface, a behavior we call “logging.” We watched her nap away before moving on to a group of three more Humpbacks. These were some other well-known whales named Cajun, Pele and an unnamed whale we have nicknamed Chunk! As they dove, we were startled by yet another dynamic duo of Humpbacks, Tripod and Valley. All of these whales were busy feeding beneath the surface, with bubble clouds rising behind them after they surfaced. After spending a few minutes with these five, we went to check out the other blows we were seeing ahead of us. As we headed there, we had a drive by sighting of a female Humpback named Dross, who was taking a nice deep dive to go foraging. We eventually noticed we had two small whales and two big whales next to each other. It was Nile and her calf, accompanied by Quote and her calf. While they dove all around us and surfaced near us repeatedly, it was Nile who stole the show, rising with a mouth full of food each time (see photo). The calves were being adorable, wiggling at the surface and spending time near the boat. Just when we thought we had seen all of the whales there were, we noticed that yet another Humpback Whale began to make its way into this grouping, and it was Nile’s companion from last year, Scylla! We watched them all feed, wiggle, and race around for a while longer before we had to make our way back home. It was a remarkable day on the water!
David, Caitlin & Liza
Today aboard the Asteria, the 10am whale watch headed out towards the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. As we got to the area we spotted several blows. We got a brief look at the humpback mother and calf pair of Quote and her 2022 calf before heading on to a sleep duo of humpbacks consisting of Tripod and Valley. These two were spending a lot of time at the surface so we were able to get some really fantastic looks at them! They started to wake up and gave us some beautiful fluking dives. We then traveled over to another set of blows. We started on Shuffleboard the humpback who was subsurface feeding. She quickly passed by our boat, but we were able to get some really amazing looks at her! We then spent a good amount of time with another mom and calf pair consisting of Spoon and her 2022 calf. This was my first time seeing Spoon and her calf this year so I was very excited to see them! Spoon was doing what she does best and was logging at the surface. Her calf was also resting with her for the most part. However, before we had to leave, the calf started to roll around and even did a little spy hop! We were able to get a very brief look at Clamp the humpback before we had to head back to Boston. It was a really great day out on Stellwagen Bank!
Colin, David, and Maddie
11 am Whale Sightings
Today we boarded the Aurora for the 11 am whale watch and cruises across peaceful swells toward the southwest corner. Upon arriving, we noticed blows almost everywhere we looked! We started with a feeding humpback whale, A-Plus, who was blowing bubble clouds among the multiple shoals of mackerel. Mogul did a quick drive by, blowing his own bubble clouds, but we were keen to check out a humpback whales that were flipper slapping. It turned out to be a quartet of whales, consisting of Spoon, her 2022 calf, Shuffleboard, and an unknown. The flipper slapping slowed, but with glassy seas we were fortunate enough to have incredible looks at these whales as they rested at the surface, while the fourth whale proceeded to spyhop! Spoon is always a treat to see, and her notoriously relaxed behavior is always welcome. After some time, we began our journey home, spotting Clamp and the duo of Valley and Tripod as we made our way out of the whale soup we had found ourselves to be in. We enjoyed a beautiful ride back to Boston, spotting some seals and even a quick peak at a blue shark! It was an absolutely spectacular day on the water!
Ashlyn, Mira, Caitlin, and Liza
Today the Asteria headed to Stellwagen Bank in search of whales. After a successful morning trip, we returned to the southwest corner near the cape, hoping to repeat our good luck. It certainly did not disappoint! We started out with blows all around us, eventually focusing on two Humpback Whales, who were almost motionless at the surface. It was a mother and her calf, but not just any mother whale. It was an enormous whale who holds a very special place in my heart, my favorite whale, who is named Spoon. She was first seen in 1977, and could be the largest Humpback in the population, coming in at an astounding 62 feet long! We were thrilled to watch her and her calf rest at the surface, so peaceful and relaxed. Spoon has a reputation for always napping (who wouldn’t if they could, right?), and we got some great looks at her immense size. We even had an adorable seal pass by! After some great moments with them, we moved forward to some other whales, eventually seeing two other Humpbacks named Mogul and Pixar. They were likely feeding beneath the surface, both surfacing close to us giving us spectacular views as they passed, with Pixar even breaching once! Finally, we were ready to head for home, when we saw a huge white Humpback flipper rising from the water! We went to go investigate, to find ourselves with Quote and her calf. Quote continued to flipper slap next to us while her calf stuck by her side. It was a tremendous experience! We then made our way back to Boston, the perfect ending to a perfect day.
David, Colin & Maddie
Today we journeyed out to the Southwest Corner on our daily search for cetaceans. We began our trip with A-Plus and Shuffleboard close approaching and swimming alongside the boat. We got some marvelous full body looks at these mighty gals. In the distance we could see flipper flapping–Mira’s favorite behavior–and so we went off to find Quote flipper slapping with her calf swimming alongside. We then saw a group of blows and met up with Cajun, Pele, GOM-1504, and a yet to be identified whale. While the other three whales went on a dive, the unidentified whale breached directly in front of the boat! It was Liza’s first time seeing a breach. However, other boats started moving close to this group so we went on a ride. Ashlyn spotted some blows in the distance and turned out to be Dyad and Dross, Ashlyn’s favorite whale! We were all set to head home when a Mola mola began breaching in front of the boat! Sunburnt and satisfied, we returned to Boston!
Mira, Ashlyn, Caitlin, and Liza
The 10 a.m. whale watch onboard the Aurora made way for the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. Our sightings started with a sleepy pair of humpback whales that turned out to be Nile and her 2022 calf. This duo spent ample time at the surface, allowing us some incredible looks as they rested. As some smaller boats moved in, we made our way to some blows a little further south. Here, we found the dynamic duo of Cajun and Pele, who surprised us with an incredibly close approach. We also noticed a calf swimming around the area, enjoying some time at the surface while mom likely fed below. While we don’t know just yet who’s calf it is, the calf is sporting what appears to be some new scarring, and although its’ behavior was normal and healthy, it’s an important reminder how vigilant these young whales must be. Cajun surprised us with one monstrous breach, and with that final look, we headed back to Boston, having enjoyed another wonderful day on Stellwagen Bank.
Ashlyn, Eman, and Rachel
We ventured out to Stellwagen Bank optimistic after a successful whale watch earlier in the day. Our first sighting was a mom and calf pair we identified as Quote and her 2022 Calf. After a short synchronous dive, the calf began breaching every few minutes with some flipper slapping in between! During this time, Quote was taking long fluking dives. After spending some time with Quote and her calf, we ventured on further in search of whales. Our search was short as we happened upon another mom/calf duo identified as Nile and her 2022 calf. Our second calf of the day surprised us with exciting tail breaching and flipper slapping while Nile took long fluking dives. Once again, we spent some time with the two before bidding goodbye and moving on to see what else Stellwagen Bank had to offer. Our last sighting of the day was a quartet that included another mom and calf pair, a juvenile, and a whale affectionately known as Chunk! Just like the previous two calves, this calf was tail breaching and flipper slapping while the other three took long dives. After an exciting few hours on the water, we bid the whales goodbye and headed back to Boston. All in all, an exciting day full of exciting calves!
Eman, Ashlyn, and Rachel
11 am and 3:30 pm Whale Watch Sightings
What a great day for whale watching. The 11 am trip headed to the Southwest Corner in search of whales and quickly found ourselves in the middle of some interesting social interactions. We started off with a group of 3 humpbacks, Etch-A-Sketch, Valley, and Hatchmark, who were soon joined by GOM-1107, but not without a great deal of trumpeting, leading us to believe that maybe our initial group was not so happy about this. This group of 4 then broke up into 2 pairs of humpbacks, before spreading out. A single humpback by the name of A-plus gave us some fantastic looks as she close approached the port side of the vessel! We got some fantastic looks at all of these whales as they moved around us. We ran out of time and had to head back to Boston, eager to return to the bank!
The 3:30 pm trip returned to the Southwest Corner, with a hardy group of passengers who braved the building seas and winds. We were excited to find ourselves in the presence of 8-10 adult humpbacks, and 2 calves, who were densely packed into the area ahead of us! These calves were interestingly mostly hanging out on their own together and were busy putting on a show of surface activity! While the identity of these calves mothers remains a mystery for now, their impressive range of surface activity delighted passengers, with one of these calves repeatedly breaching across our stern, and later directly off of our port side. We were able to ID some of the other whales as Pele, Chunk (GOM-1504), Cajun, Flock, and at least four others we are working to ID still.
Overall it was a fantastic day on the bank!
12 pm & 5:00 pm Whale Watch Sightings
The Cetacea ventured toward Stellwagen Bank, but we first spotted a humpback whale to the west of the bank. We continued a bit further until we found a trip comprised of Etch-a-Sketch, Valley, and GOM-1107 who were moving rather slowly to the north. A large recreational boat could be seen zooming toward the three, and although they slowed before reaching them, the whales dove out of its way. It was disappointing to start our trip with a show of disrespect to the animals but things evened out after that.
After a while, Valley surfaced far from the other two and turned back to the south, leaving the pair to hold their own interaction with one of the whales flicking its fluke and lifting their head. They too split and left us with plenty to talk about on the ride in.
By the afternoon, the winds had picked up quite a bit and the whales we on the move. We found ourselves on the southwest corner surrounded by about a dozen fast moving humpbacks. Nile’s calf was tail breaching up a storm as well as lob-tailing, a behavior I haven’t seen in quite some time. Apex and her calf were nearby, and the two seemed to be playing together while their moms foraged for their next meal, and our beloved Chunk has made its way up the ranks and was in close association with established the Pele and Cajun pair, and another young familiar whale, Spell was resighted for the first time. There were lots of tail breaches, full breaches, and rolling, especially from the little ones, and we enjoyed a fantastic late afternoon with them until we were able to enjoy the ride and the sunset to the west.
Laura L. and Addy
Today aboard the Asteria, a group of passengers braved high winds and waves on our way to Stellwagen Bank. We spotted a blow on our way, but couldn’t re-sight this whale, so we moved on. We reached the Southwest corner and found ourselves in the company of several humpback whales, the closest one being Dross! She wowed us with a close approach, and a beautiful dive just off our starboard side. A small calf was milling about at the surface, soon joined by her mom Spoon. A large splash caught our attention, and we were surprised by several breaches from Music! The seas continued to build, so we said our goodbyes, having had another wonderful day on the water.
Ashlyn, David, and Rachel
Today aboard the Aurora, the 12pm whale watch made its way towards the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. Despite the wind and waves, we were able to spot some blows after some searching. We spent a little time with Nile and her 2022 calf who were taking some fairly long dives. We noticed some splashing in the distance so we decided to check it out. It turned out to be Music who was flipper slapping! She was flipper slapping up a storm, even double flipper slapping at times. She even breached a few times not far from the boat! She continued to do either breaching or flipper slapping for at least twenty minutes! Once she started to tire out from her surface activity, we had to head back to Boston. It ended up being a really great day out on Stellwagen!
Colin, Sydney, and Maddie
Good afternoon, Whale Watchers!
Today we were going to head to the Southwest corner to search for whales but did not even get through the intro talk before we saw a blow! Miles from the bank we began our whale watch with Diablo and a minke whale! We then shuffled off to see Shuffleboard and Downsweep. Another pair of logging whales popped up behind our boat; it was A-Plus and Music! A-Plus flipper flapped next to the boat until we went off to get a balloon out of the ocean. Here at the New England Aquarium/Boston Harbor City Cruises Whale Watch, we are always in motion to save the ocean. The balloon successfully retrieved, we went after a tall blow in the distance. It was a finwhale! This whale was quite speedy so we returned to our sleeping humpbacks. A-Plus and Music had been joined by a Mola mola! Sunburnt and satisfied we returned to our beloved Boston!
Mira, Laura L., and Addy
Today, the Aurora headed out to Stellwagen Bank hoping to see some whales. As we approached the southwest corner, we spotted several blows among the small boats. These all turned out to be Humpback Whales! We started around two well-known Humpbacks, Mogul and Clamp. They were feeding beneath the surface, with bubble clouds surfacing behind them as they moved. While Mogul moved quickly away, Clamp stuck around, surfacing close to the boat multiple times! Joining Clamp later was a female named Dyad, who was also busy feeding. As we watched these whales slowly spread out, we spotted a tiny wiggly whale near the surface a bit further away. We went to investigate and found ourselves next to my Good Judy, Spoon and her 2022 calf. The calf was rolling around with its flippers out of the water while Spoon slowly travelled at the surface. We spent quite a bit of time next to them, watching them just beneath the surface, side by side (see 1st photo). The calf even popped up next to us, with Spoon following. This gave us a great look at her immense size! With time running low, we then had to say goodbye and make our way back to Boston. It was a great day on the water!
David, Maddie & Rachel
波士顿观鲸：博物学家笔记 - 5/13/22至5/15/22