Whale Sightings 6/29/22 to 7/4/22 Please find the Naturalist Notes for the week of 6/29/22 to 7/4/22from the onboard team of naturalists for our New England Whale Watching tour in partnership with the New England Aquarium.
This morning aboard the Sanctuary we headed out towards the southwest corner of Stellwagen bank on glassy seas, and were excited to find quite a few whales before we even reached the bank! We started our trip with A-Plus the humpback whale. She was slowly travelling at the surface allowing us to get some incredible looks at her, and she also surprised us with a couple close approaches! As she travelled at the surface , some eagle-eyed passengers spotted some smaller cetaceans in the distance, which turned out to be a small pod of Harbor Porpoise! We also noticed a small group of minke whales feeding together in the distance, who were also in the company of a Fin Whale. We got some last looks at A-Plus before moving on to another humpback we had been watching ahead of us. This whale turned out to be Dross, a naturalist favorite! She was quickly travelling but spending a lot of time at the surface allowing us to spend quite a bit of time with her. We were starting to watch the clock, when Dross surprised us by surfacing right off our port side, allowing us to truly appreciate her size! We watched as Dross continued on and got a fantastic look at one last beautiful fluking dive from Dross before we made our way home.
Overall, a fantastic day on the bank!
Today aboard the Aurora, the 12pm whale watch made its way out towards the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. As we were traveling down the south shore, we spotted a blow. It turned out to be A-plus the humpback whale! She was taking seven-minute dives, but she was not moving very far, and she was spending a lot of time at the surface. After a beautiful fluking dive from her we continued towards the corner. As we got to the corner, we spotted a pair of blows in the distance. It turned out to be Valley and Tripod! These two lovely ladies were spending a lot of time and the surface and were not taking very long dives. We were able to get some really great looks at these two large humpbacks! After a pair of beautiful fluking dives we had to make our way back to Boston. It was a really fantastic day out on Stellwagen!
Colin, Laura L., and Caitlin
The Sanctuary headed out toward the south and found two humpback whales, Dross and Scylla, well to the west of the bank. We watched the two as they swam steadily to the north while taking high fluking dives, allowing for some wonderful photo opportunities. We enjoyed quite a bit of time with them and decided to head a bit further to the east, where we spotted two fin whales before watching a group of four sleepy humpbacks. A-Plus, Clamp, Diablo, and Downsweep lazed about at the surface on this warm summer day. We had turned for Boston when two of the whales began flipper slapping- and here is where we offer a big thank you to Capt. Marc and the crew for turning back for a bonus look, which was very much appreciated by the passengers. All in all it was a fantastic day!
Laura L., Mira, and Gracie
12pmWhale Watch Sightings
The 12:00 whale watch had an eventful day with several humpback whales on Stellwagen Bank. Our first sighting was a familiar duo, Dross and Scylla. While approaching them, Dross surprised us with two breaches! Then, the two whales began flipper slapping together. After these exciting behaviors, Scylla took some short dives to blow bubble clouds indicative of her feeding and Dross spent time at the surface traveling. After an eventful time with these whales, we ventured on and happened across another duo! These two, Diablo and one other, spent a few minutes on the surface. We got some excellent looks before they both went on dives. It was a fantastic day on the water.
Eman, Colin, Caitlin, & Olivia
What a day we had! Today the Sanctuary headed to the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of wildlife. As we approached, we spotted a couple of blows earlier than anticipated. We found a couple of Humpback Whales, notably one named Downsweep, who was spending quite a bit of time beneath the surface. We decided to push on, finding another pair of Humpbacks, Valley and Tripod. These two ladies were taking very short dives, allowing us to get some really good looks at them. After some time slowly moving along with them, we headed further south. We found a kick-feeding Humpback named A-Plus, who gave us some exceptional looks at this uniquely east coast behavior. We were still watching A-Plus kick-feed when we were surprised by a different trio of Humpback Whales, who ended up being Cajun, Pele, and GOM-1504 (nicknamed Chunk!) These three treated us to some great looks before diving together. As we turned for home, we were ecstatic to see large splashing ahead of us in the distance. We had two breaching Humpback Whales!!! Valley and Tripod, who we had watched earlier, had decided to become more active, also tail breaching and lobtailing. We were even happier to see that they continued to do this next to us, with Valley even flipper slapping near our boat! We watched this for quite some time before we sadly had to keep heading back to the dock. With Valley flipper slapping behind us, we said goodbye and headed back to Boston. It was a fantastic day on the water!
David, Mira, Gracie & Liza
What a great way to start off the month! The Aurora headed out towards the South West corner of Stellwagen bank and we were excited to find a group of 3 Humpbacks. This trio, made up of Cajun, Pele, and Chunk (Gom-1504) were busy travelling at the surface, before being joined by a fourth humpback, who turned out to be Ravine! We started to notice a congregation of birds and were surprised by these 4 humpbacks lunging at the surface together! After this brief bought of cooperative feeding, Ravine went off on her own, but would occasionally rejoin the group of 3 while we watched. Ravine began to kick feed, and continued to lunge at the surface, even doing so directly off our pulpits a couple times! The trio continued travelling around the area, and delighted passengers with frequent close approaches. We got some truly incredible looks at these whales, but realized we were running out of time. After some beautiful final looks at some fluking dives from these whales, we made our way back to Boston.
Overall, a truly spectacular day on the bank!
Sydney, Eman, and Caitlin
Today the 10am Whale Watch ventured out to find cetaceans! We found whales quickly and almost every whale we saw was taking long dives between 8-12 minutes. We had our trip sandwiched between two solo sightings of Dross. Then we came upon Valley and Tripod who we would also end the trip with. Next we took a ride to find Gar. He was also taking long dives so we returned to where we began and were met by Clamp and Scylla. Satisfied we returned to Boston!
Mira, Eman, and Maddie
The 2:30 PM whale watch headed out to the Southwest Corner of Stellwagen Bank eager to find whales. Our first whale sighting was Apex and her 2022 calf. The two were taking frequent dives with the calf surfacing near the boat multiple times! While watching the mom and calf, we also came across A-Plus in a quartet that was taking frequent, synchronous dives. The group included two known whales seen for the first time this year: Conflux and Milkweed. The fourth whale in this group was a calf who stuck closely to Milkweed. We are hoping Milkweed is a mother again this year! While we were watching this exciting quartet, a trio of whales swam over to the area. This included Cajun, Pele, and GOM1504 (affectionately known as Chunk). We ended our trip with several breaches from Apex’s 2022 calf who was still breaching as we made our way back to Boston.
Eman, Mira, & Maddie
This morning, the 11am Whale Watch headed out aboard the Sanctuary to Stellwagen Bank in search of whales. We spotted a few whales just shy of the bank itself. These were all Humpback Whales, and the first was a lone female named Dross. She was taking it easy this morning, just hanging out at the surface. We watched her for a bit before spotting a couple other Humpbacks a bit further away, two more females named Scylla and Clamp. They were taking short dives and giving us some great looks! While watching these two, we spotted a few other species, such as a passing Fin Whale, a Blue Shark, and an Ocean Sunfish! Happy with our sightings, we headed back to Boston, eager to see how the afternoon would turn out!
The 3:30pm Whale Watch left aboard the Sanctuary a little further to the east on Stellwagen Bank itself, and found ourselves in a huge pile of whales! We started with a breaching Humpback calf, who breached right next to the boat! This was the 2022 calf of a whale named Apex, and Apex herself was not too far away. This calf came up right in front of our boat too, giving us a thorough look over. We followed this curious calf over to a trio of different Humpbacks, who were whales named Cajun, Pele and Chunk. These whales seemed to be babysitting for Apex, while other Humpbacks made their way around us, including Conflux and Milkweed. As we watched these whales, a little head poked out of the water by us. It was another little Humpback calf! Based on who was around us, we are hopeful that this tiny calf is Milkweed’s calf. This little whale poked its head out of the water a few times next to us (a behavior we call spy hopping) and gave us a very close approach. We were so happy to see all these whales, and reluctantly started to head back to Boston. On the way home, we spotted a few blows much closer to shore. We found four Humpback Whales nearby, two of which we identified as two other females, Pitcher and Music! Having watched these two spend all last summer together, it was so nice to see them both together again this summer. After waving goodbye to them, we made our way back home.
It was an all around fantastic day on the water!
David, Olivia & Gracie
Today aboard the Cetacea, the 12pm whale watch made its way towards the middle of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. After a little searching we spotted several blows in the area. There were a few single humpback whales who were taking fairly long dives. However, we noticed a pair of blows spending more time at the surface so we decided to go check them out. It turned out to be Valley and Tripod! These two lovely ladies were spending a lot of time at the surface so, we were able to get some really great looks at them. At one point, Tripod and Valley popped up right next to the boat! We then had another pair of humpbacks join the area, one of which was Shuffleboard! After some beautiful fluking dives from Shuffleboard we had to make our way back to Boston.
The 5pm whale watch headed a little further south in search of whales and other marine life. When we came to the area, it was humpback whale galore! There were several groups joining up and splitting quickly. The ones we were able to identify were Cajun, Pele, Chunk, Apex, A-plus, and Milkweed. There were two calves in the mix as well and one of them really stole the show! This calf was spy hopping and breaching right next to the boat! It was actively checking us out which was really awesome to see. We also had the large group of whales come up right next to the boat a few times! With some more beautiful fluking dives by the large group, and a goodbye breach from the calf, we had to head back to Boston. The rain had subsided as we were pulling into the harbor, so the passengers got a beautiful look at the sunset over the city. It was a really amazing day out on the Atlantic today!
Colin and Caitlin
Today we journeyed to the Southwest Corner of Stellwagen bank aboard the 10 AM whale watch. Our first sighting was of a fin whale! We were able to watch this whale for a few moments before it went down on a dive. While waiting for the fin whale, we also saw a humpback whale named Music who was taking short, non-fluking dives. We watched Music for a few moments and caught another glimpse of our fin whale before moving on to a familiar mom and calf – Nile and her 2022 calf. The calf surprised us with three breaches as we were making our way over! We had an eventful twenty minutes with the calf who surprised us by surfacing right next to our boat while Nile was taking some longer dives. Wanting to give these whales a break from the boat, the Asteria moved on in search of other whales. We ended up finding an area with six humpback whales and a minke. Of the humpback whales, three have been identified as Doric, Splice and Cats Paw. All of the humpback whales were actively kick feeding making it impossible to keep our eyes in one place. It was a three-species adventure to remember!
Eman, Laura. L., & Addy
The 11 am whale watch headed out to the Southwest corner in search of whales aboard the Aurora, and found ourselves in the presence of Nile and her 2022 Calf. Nile was busy sleeping at the surface, so we moved on to some more active whales in the distance. We found about 5-8 kick feeding humpbacks! We spent most of our time with a humpback named Splice who was busy kick feeding and lunging close to our boat, but we were also able to ID Doric, and GOM-1508. We realized we ran out of time and had to head home, eager to return in the afternoon.
The 3:30 pm trip returned, and after a little bit of extra travelling, we were amazed by the abundance of whales in the area ahead of us. We estimated between 20-40 humpbacks were busy kick feeding, lunging, and dragging all around us! We had about 10 whales feeding close to the boat, and we were able to ID Infinity, Evolution, Ampersand, Joy, Milkyway, and Dome as some of these individuals! We also got some brief looks at a mom and calf pair whose identity remains a mystery for now. There was also a lone fin whale who we got some distant looks at, as well as a few minkes who popped up sporadically around us. On our way home, we stopped for some bonus looks at Tear before we ultimately had to continue our journey home to Boston.
Overall, it was a truly incredible day out on the bank!
We enjoyed a beautiful ride on the 12pm whale watch to the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank aboard the Sanctuary. Unfortunately, our first sighting was of a feeding humpback whale, and a recreation vessel driving over the humpbacks bubble cloud. This certainly isn’t how we like to start a trip, but it is an important reminder how important it is to respect the whale’s space. It also is a wonderful opportunity to remind everyone of the See a Spout program, a tool for boaters to familiarize themselves with responsible whale watching. Check it out! https://seeaspout.org
Fortunately, the tune of our trip changed when we found ourselves virtually alone with an energetically kick feeding Doric. She engaged in spectacular kicks and impressive lunges, casually inching closer to the boat with each lunch. It became clear that we’d stay out for a while, as two other individuals, including Gladiator, began their own displays of kickfeeding around us. Catspaw and it’s’ legendary spyhop lunges made an appearance as well, resulting in an audible wow from the passengers. A pair of humpbacks joined the fray, kickfeeding and dragging toward the boat in an awesome display. Our time began to run out, and so we inched our way out of the area, enjoying a pleasant ride back to the city.
For the 5 p.m. whale watch, our sightings started out drastically differently, with impressive chin breaches and lobtailing from Tear! We were wowed by impressive displays of his power, and he even engaged in some snaking and trumpeting! After he quieted down, we noticed other whales in the area, and as we made our way east, we counted at least 28 different humpback whales! With incredible visibility and calm seas, it was possible to see whales all the way to the horizon. We ended up spending most of our time with a rolling and flipper slapping Piano. Also in the area were a trio, another pair of humpbacks, and a napping mother calf pair, which turned out to be Milkweed and her 2022 calf! We grabbed our last looks on this adorable pair, and then cruised into the setting sun.
Today aboard the Asteria, the 10am whale watch was making its way out towards the southern portion of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. After a little bit of searching we spotted several blows in the distance. Once we got to the area, we estimated that there were around 40 humpback whales in the area! All of these whales were kick feeding, blowing bubble clouds, and lunge feeding! Often times they were kick feeding and lunging right near the boat! Some of the IDs we were able to get were Fez, Condensation, Evolution, Dome, Milkyway, Nazca, Parens, Tongs and her 2022 calf, Pitcher, Piano, and Mira. Nazca was the real star today kick feeding and lunging near the boat several times! After plenty of beautiful looks, and of course some beautiful fluking dives, we had to head back to Boston. Today was a really amazing day out on Stellwagen Bank!
Colin, Sydney, and Maddie
With warm sunshine and whales as far as the eye could see, we knew it was going to be special from the get-go. We started with A-Plus doing some kick feeding before suddenly stopping and zooming to the west. Our attention turned to a massive “bait ball”- schooling fish that are used as bait by fishers which was that being fed on by birds, minke whales, and tuna. Two fin whales appeared suddenly and we observed them zooming toward the patch and got our cameras ready, then watched as the two powerful whales lunged at top speed on their sides.
From there we watched as 40-50 humpbacks kickfed and lunged all around us. There are really no words that could describe this trip other than spectacular as the activity kept up at rapid pace for over a half hour until we needed to return to Boston. One of my favorite aspects of trips like these, other than the sheer excitement of it all, is observing the different styles of feeding. For example, Infinity performs a butterfly stroke before snaking its body, slamming its head onto the water, and kicking, while Sequin completed a series of two kicks, and yet others would slash or swish their tails, all in an effort to stun their prey. Whales identified thus far include: A-Plus, Pixar, Hippocampus, Bandit, Triton, Infinity, Glo, Leukos, Joy, Milkyway, Anvil, Draco, Sequin, Tear, Ghost, and Condensation. We will be riding the high from these trips for a long, long time!
Laura L. and Addy
Today. the Sanctuary headed out to Stellwagen Bank in search of some patriotic whales. And wow, did we find them! There were at least 30 Humpback Whales on the eastern side of the bank, kick feeding all around us. With so many whales to go look at, we spent time in a very exciting cluster of whales, who included Landslide, Tongs and her calf, Soot, Anvil, Strike, Dome, Squeegee, Dyad, Bandit and Nazca, among others who have yet to be identified! They were around us on all sides of the boat, making for some very thick whale soup! They were kick feeding before surfacing with their mouths wide open. This surface feeding is not something we see all the time, so it was so incredibly memorable. We also got a surprise from a lunging Fin Whale, who delighted the passengers with a close look! We saw a few other fin whales in the area, as well as some curious Minke Whales, making for a three species day. With time running low, we began to tiptoe out of the area, but not before seeing a few breaches from an active Humpback calf! It was a spectacular way to end the trip. Once we said goodbye to our ocean full of whales, we made our way back to Boston. It was a July 4th none of us will ever forget!
This afternoon the aboard the Asteria we eagerly headed back to the bank after a great morning trip. We started our trip with 1-2 Fin whales and 4 humpbacks spread over a small area. We were able to ID Anvil and her 2022 calf, and Rocker. The adults were busy kick feeding and lunging, and the calf surprised us with some close approaches! We continued to a larger group of whales ahead of us as the boat presence in that area began to decline. We estimated over 40 humpbacks to be feeding all around us! We spent most of our trip surrounded by kick feeding, bubble net feeding, and lunging! We were able to ID Dome first by her characteristic exhalations, and additionally were able to ID Joy, Tear, Mira, Pinch, Triton, Dyad, Parens, Fern, Condensation, Splice, Piano, and Tilt! We had an incredible afternoon on the bank, and while we reluctantly made our way home, we were treated to bonus looks at feeding humpbacks as we cautiously departed the area.
Overall, a truly spectacular day on the bank and a wonderful way to celebrate the Fourth!
Sydney, Colin, and Maddie
We boarded the Aurora for the 11 a.m. whale watch and headed to the eastern edge of Stellwagen Bank. A slowdown in the harbor for the annual turnaround and cannon firing of the USS Constitution only added to the excitement of what was a spectacular day on the water. Upon arriving, we met up with multiple large groups of feeding humpback whales! Based on the number of blows in the area, we estimated about 30-35 humpbacks, including Doric, Landslide, Strike, and several others, all which were engaging in surface feeding! We hung out with a group of six that consisted of a small calf, who would not be outdone and engaged in some flipper slapping near the boat! Mom fed close by with some associates, blowing perfect bubble nets and wowing us with incredible displays of open mouths and dragging. Dragging happens to be one of my favorite behaviors, as it allows us a very unique look at the whale, and really allows us to appreciate their size and seemingly effortless ways of feeding. It seemed like almost suddenly we found ourselves in the presence of about a dozen feeding minke whales, and two lunge feeding fin whales! We realized at this point that the surface feeding was the tip of the iceberg, as flashes of silver alerted us to feeding tuna beneath the surface! It was hard not to be stunned by the awesome displays of activity both at the surface and just beneath us, and as we made our turn back toward Boston, it was clear we would be moving slowly for a while. Several single kick feeding humpbacks lay ahead, and as we slowly cruised out of the area, one decided to wow us with a close approach and display of this activity! A last bonus sighting was appreciated, and we headed home, eager to return in the afternoon.
The 3:30 pm trip is summed up in the paragraph above, as we returned to the eastern edge and couldn’t look around without seeing a feeding whale. Our trip started spectacularly with a cooperative feeding group, one whale taking charge of the kickfeeding and the other two blowing a bubble ring. This bubble ring happened to be right next to our port pulpit, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a close display of the open mouths that followed. The legendary Catspaw happened to be in this group, and it wouldn’t be a trip without the characterist spyhop lunge! Tear was also a part of this group, and somehow he managed to steal the show with a beautiful display of dragging. Soon after, we met up with a new mother/calf pair of the season, Buckshot and her 2022 calf! Buckshot joined a trio of whales to engage in some feeding, while the calf hung on the outside, seemingly attempting to kickfeed itself. Etch-a-Sketch rounded out our sightings with her characteristic kicks, and as we headed back to Boston, we couldn’t stop watching the activity behind us. On the way home, I was asked if this was my favorite days on the water, and although everyday on the water is a good one, today’s once in a lifetime moments are definitely up there.
波士顿观鲸：博物学家笔记 - 5/13/22至5/15/22