Whale Sightings 8/8/22 to 8/14/22 Please find the Naturalist Notes for the week of 8/8/22 to 8/14/22 from the onboard team of naturalists for our New England Whale Watching tour in partnership with the New England Aquarium.
10am & 2:30pm Whale Watch Sightings
Today aboard the Sanctuary, the 10am whale watch made its way out towards Jeffrey’s Ledge in search of whales and other marine life. We first spotted a Mola mola who was cruising at the surface. We got some great looks at this funky looking fish before moving on to a blue shark! The blue shark was cruising at the surface which allowed us to get some excellent looks at it. We then moved on to several different humpback whales. We started our trip on Satula the humpback who was taking very short dives and popping up right next to the boat! We then got to spend some quality time with Spoon the humpback whale, who was doing her usual napping at the surface. We finished the trip with some very solid looks at Pinball the humpback whale. There was a small pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins traveling with Pinball who was getting very annoyed with them that she even trumpeted a few times. Right before we were about to leave, we spotted another blue shark! This was a rather large blue shark that swam right next to the boat! After it dove down, we continued back home.
The 230pm whale watch made its way towards Jeffrey’s Ledge in hopes of similar sightings to the morning trip. We were in luck when we spotted several whales in the area. We started our trip with Pinball who was darting through the area. We got a brief look at Draco the humpback, before moving on to find Satula. Satula and Pinball were sub-surface blowing bubble clouds, and Pinball even lunged up one time! Satula and Pinball even came up next to the boat a few times! We got a few more great looks at Satula before getting some final looks at Ravine and Spoon before heading back to Boston. It was a really great day out on Jeffrey’s!
Today aboard the Asteria we headed in beautiful glass seas to Jeffrey’s Ledge. Along the way we got some great looks at Thacher Island lighthouses and a minke whale. Once we arrived on the ledge, we spotted 10-13 humpbacks throughout the afternoon. We spent time with Satula, a veteran whale who is missing most of his dorsal fin (a lot of older males often lose some of their dorsal fins by competing in rowdy groups on the breeding grounds). We also spotted Pinball, Draco, Spoon, Clamp, Dross, and Mogul – all spread out randomly traveling though the area. Our captain Deb noticed that they appeared to be feeding along the bathymetric line where the shallow water meets the deep water. We also spotted some distant flipper slapping, and had a great look at the humpback Nine swimming past our boat. We also had a fantastic look at a blue shark that swam right alongside us! A great day on the water.
Laura & David
Aboard the Aurora, the noon whale watch headed to the Southern portion of Stellwagen Bank to find some whales. Some ripples in the water stopped us before we made it to the Bank, and we found ourselves surrounded by a large group of two dolphin species – Atlantic White-sided Dolphins and Common Dolphins! It can be difficult to determine the number of dolphins in an area, but we estimated there were over a hundred. The dolphins were moving North while we were aiming South, so we spent a few minutes watching them breach and swim around and under us before we continued on. It wasn’t long until we found three Humpbacks: Milkweed and her 2022 calf, along with a whale named A-Plus. Unfortunately, these whales were surrounded by almost a dozen recreational boats. During our time with the whales, it was stressful to watch the boats move in on the whales, often approaching them head-on and cutting off their direction of travel. While it is an incredible opportunity to go out to Stellwagen Bank and spend an afternoon with the whales, we have to remind ourselves that we are in their habitat. We should always appreciate and respect the whales in their space by watching from a distance and not moving the boat if the whales are too close. Today’s experience presented an opportunity to talk about the See a Spout program (www.seaaspout.org) and how learning safe and responsible whale watching practices benefits everyone! During our time with the whales, all three of them were taking short, consistent dives and spending several minutes at the surface between dives. Milkweed’s calf was often surfacing before the two adults and would spend time rolling around at the surface before going down again! At one point during the trip, the trio of whales approached our boat very closely! The Aurora remained out of gear as we let the whales move around us. They started at our starboard side, allowing us to bask in the fragrant scent of their breath, before swimming beneath the boat and diving off our portside. We had two subsequent close encounters before the three whales moved further off and continued their consistent dives. We also had a very brief sighting of an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) before we slowly headed back to Boston.
It was a great day on Stellwagen Bank!
Eman & Rachel
This morning aboard the Sanctuary, we headed up to Jeffrey’s Ledge in search of whales. Upon arrival, we found ourselves with two Humpback Whales named Gunslinger and Patches, who gave us some incredible close looks on both sides of the boat! They were taking short dives and travelling slowly, giving us a lot of time to see them. In the area was also a large pod of Atlantic White-Sides Dolphins, who were busy porpoising near the surface. It was fantastic to see these two species near one another, both likely feeding on the plentiful fish beneath the surface. After spending our time in this productive patch of water, we headed back to Boston, eager to return this afternoon.
We returned to Jeffrey’s Ledge this afternoon to find 10-12 Humpback Whales further to the east of where we went in the morning! While we had several whales in the area, we mainly spent time with two pairs of Humpback Whales, who were Ravine, Cat’s Paw, Ebony and a fourth who is still being identified. These whales were spending a lot of time at the surface between dives, with Cat’s Paw even rolling over for a quick flipper slap! It was amazing to see!!! Satisfied, we headed back home to Boston.
It was a terrific day on the water!
Good afternoon Whale watchers,
The 11 AM whale watch headed to the Southern portion of Stellwagen Bank. We were greeted by several blows, all belonging to Humpback whales. Our first encounter was with a group of three: Milkweed, Milkweed’s 2022 calf, and A-Plus. All three whales were going on short fluking dives and we got some absolutely beautiful views of their flukes as they went down. After a few minutes with this group, we noticed some splashing from the other group. As we slowly approached, we got some views of a calf breaching! It turned out to be Venom’s 2022 calf. The calf spent several minutes breaching, tail lobbing, and flipper slapping while we happily watched. Between breaches from the calf, we also saw Venom and Bounce surfacing for a few breaths before going back down on dives. We watched Venom’s calf, and Venom and Bounce on their surface intervals, until we noticed three other Humpbacks joining the party. Our two groups of three joined up and formed a large group of six! Milkweed, A-Plus, Bounce, and Venom were all taking short dives together while the two calves were splashing around at the surface with frequent breaches! As some of the calves’ excitement died down, both whales slowly approached our boat while we were in neutral. They swam toward our starboard side before ducking underneath the boat and breaching right off the bow! It was an incredible experience for everyone onboard. As the two calves swam a bit further off, they continued their previous activity. Between all the excitement with the surface-active calves, we even spotted an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) off our bow.
With one very large breach from Venom and several smaller breaches from the two calves, we turned the Asteria around and headed back to Boston.
Eman & Maddie
We had an awesome afternoon aboard the Aurora today in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary! We traveled south of midbank, and spent time with 6 humpback whales. We were surrounded by two groups of adults subsurface feeding – Venom was feeding with Bounce, while Milkweed and A-Plus were feeding nearby in close proximity (but never together, at least at the surface). While the adults were busy feeding, Venom and Milkweed’s calves spent a lot of time at the surface! Milkweed’s calf would occasionally bob-up periodically, while Venom’s calf treated us to a few breaches! The second half of our trip we got extremely lucky – lots of repeated close approaches to our boat! All six whales took turns swimming alongside our boat – enough that we could see Venom’s “birthmark” (a slit on her side – see photo), and could also observe that her calf had a similar birthmark! (see photo). After the calves spent a bunch of time milling at the surface, both of them began to chase after their mothers to try and nurse. But the adults kept a steady pace continuing to feed! A great day!
Laura and Mira
Today aboard the Asteria, the 12pm whale watch made its way towards Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. After quite a bit of searching, we spotted a blow. This blow turned out to be Dross the humpback whale! She was spending a lot of time at the surface, so we were able to get a lot of great looks at her. She gave us several beautiful fluking dives as well as coming up close to the boat a few times! After some awesome looks at Dross we had to head back to Boston. It ended up being a great day out on the water!
Colin and Caitlin
Yesterday, the Sanctuary headed out on the 2:30 whale watch towards the Southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. We quickly spotted multiple blows from at least 5 scattered humpbacks and spent our time with the individual Mogul. Mogul initially was taking longer dives but changed his behavior towards the second half of our trip and began bubble cloud feeding! Mogul repeatedly would emerge in a cloud of bubbles right next to our vessel. A few times while clutched out, Mogul swam right towards our boat after feeding- giving passengers on all sides a great look at this whale.
Today the 10AM whale watch set out for the Southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. Over the course of our trip, we came across three Mola molas! We began our morning with Shuffleboard who seemed to be feeding as she was coming up face first and doing small rolls as well. There were several other blows in the area (about eight humpbacks) so we went to get some quality time with Doric. After that, we moved onto fan favorite Mogul. Satisfied, we returned to Boston!
The 2:30PM trip headed to a similar spot where all the eight to eleven humpbacks in the area seemed to be heading determinately south. We began with Tripod who was taking very long dives. As such, we moved onto a group: Venom and her calf and Milkweed and her calf. Captain Deb told us she had a surprise for us and took us onto see a massive pod of about 150-200 Atlantic white-sided dolphins!
On a personal note, today was our intern Caitlin’s last day on the water. Her summer highlight was spending a sunset trip with Colin watching a calf breach and the thing she will miss the most is working with all of her fellow interns and naturalists. Good luck with senior year, Caitlin!
Pip pip cheerio。
Today the Aurora headed out towards the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of wildlife. After a brief sighting of a Minke Whale, we spotted several blows in the area. We focused our attention on a pair of blows, a Humpback Whale mother and calf pair! It turned out to be Pleats and her young calf. They were initially taking short dives before the calf started to surface close to us several times. After one surfacing, this calf turned and seemed to make a beeline towards us. We sat there completely out of gear while this calf sat right next to us, giving us a very thorough look over. As this calf was sitting next to us, Pleats herself started to approach the surface, giving us a remarkable look of her enormous size. Pleats bears scars from a propellor injury on her back, reminding us of the danger these whales face due to vessel strike, and the need for responsible navigation around them. As always, it was an incredible opportunity to discuss www.seeaspout.org a fantastic resource and course for safe whale watching guidelines. We continued to watch Pleats and her calf sit right next to us, with them sinking under the boat and surfacing on both sides. This gave everyone a great view of this rare close approach behavior! Eventually, Pleats took a high fluking dive, and despite not wanting to leave, we had to start making our way back to Boston. Halfway home, we were surprised and delighted to find a massive pod of 200-300 Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins! This pod was so enormous that it could be watched from both sides of the boat, stretching as far as the eye could see (see 7th photo). It was so incredible to see so many of them all around us, and so close to Boston! After saying goodbye to the dolphins, we kept moving and headed back to Boston. It was a breathtaking day on the water!
The 12pm whale watch headed out on the Sanctuary towards the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. After a bit of searching, we found ourselves in a group of five humpback whales! We found Milkweed, Milkweed 22 Calf, Venom, Venom 22 Calf, and a fifth individual! We’ve seen the two mom and calves together for the last few weeks – so it was exciting to see another adult join this association! Initially, this group was traveling – with both calves staying up at the surface while the adults took longer dives. Suddenly, Venom’s calf launched out of the water and started an explosive bout of surface activity that continued for the remainder of our trip! It was absolutely fantastic seeing this “little whale” launch out of the water in full body breaches. Over time, you could see this calf started to tire itself out, as it transitioned from full-body breaches to “lazy” half-breaches. As we left, Venom’s Calf switched to flipper-slapping, and we were able to wave this little whale goodbye as we left the bank!
What an awesome afternoon!
Kate and Maddie
Happy Saturday Whale Watchers!
Today the Asteria started the morning by heading towards Stellwagen Bank in search of wildlife. We had not even made it there yet before we saw a Humpback Whale resting near the surface. This ended up being a whale named Ebony, who settled into a longer dive. So, we pressed on to the southwest corner and found a small pod of Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins before encountering two Humpback Whales named Shuffleboard and Scylla. These whales were taking short dives and staying close, allowing us some great looks at them. Because of how flat calm it was today, we noticed a dorsal fin next to our boat, and figured out it was a Blue Shark, who went down the whole side of the boat before disappearing into the depths. A gorgeous look at Mola Mola finished out the trip and we headed back to Boston!
The afternoon trip headed back out to the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank to find 10-15 Humpback Whales in the vicinity. Two of these whales were busy flipper slapping, so we went over to investigate. It was Tongs and her calf, who shortly settled into some short dives. We had our pick of whales in the area today, so we also got to watch two Humpbacks named Ravine and Tripod who were busy travelling at the surface. As we waited to see where they would return, we found two more Humpback Whales had surfaced near us, Pleats and her calf. This curious calf stole the show, coming right up alongside our motionless boat! Shortly after, Pleats surfaced even closer, allowing us some once in a lifetime looks at this gorgeous mother and calf pair! It was a fantastic way to end our day of fun on the water, and we headed back to Boston!
Today the 11AM whale watch headed to the Southwest Corner of Stellwagen Bank to go look for wild whales. We had eight humpbacks in the area and spent quality time with four of them. We began with Scylla and Shuffleboard. Some passengers got a quick glimpse of a blue shark before it dove. The next time Shuffleboard came up, she had a piece of seaweed draped on her back. One of the younger passengers pointed out that it looked like a fancy necklace. Next we moved onto Dyad who was most likely feeding below the surface near Mogul. As we were about to leave the area, a fishing boat towing gear drove quickly towards Mogul causing him to flee. This is harassment. Please check out https://seeaspout.org/ on how to be a safe boater around marine mammals.
Mira and Kate
3:30pm Whale Watch Sighting
The Aurora headed out to the Southwest corner of Stellwagen Ban for the 3:30 whale watch. We found Scylla and Shuffleboard, a pair we had seen earlier this morning! These two whales were taking a longer dive – so we traveled to some distant blows. I total, we spotted around 10 humpbacks in the area – and finished the remainder of our trip with Pleats and her calf. Although Pleats only fluked one time, it is very easy to distinguish her due to the extensive scarring from propellers down her back. Unfortunately, we also saw numerous cases of boats speeding around these animals – a vivid reminder of how boat strike injuries (like Pleat’s injury) occur. As we have mentioned many times this season, it is incredibly important to follow local whale watching guidelines to ensure these animals are watched in a responsible and safe manner.
Our time with Pleats and Calf was absolutely fantastic, this little calf rolled and swam all around the vessel – giving passengers amazing views on all sides! This calf continuously approached our vessel, in between spurts of nursing with mom! This calf was acting quite “silly” – at times swimming on top of mom, almost like a little whale piggy-back.
With a beautiful setting sun, we eventually returned to Boston.
Kate and Mira
Today aboard the Sanctuary, the 12pm whale watch made its way towards the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. Before we reached the bank, we got some awesome looks at a blue shark! After this little shark swam off we continued towards Stellwagen Bank. Once we got to the area, we spotted several blows from different humpback whales. We spent a little time with two individuals who were not spending a ton of time at the surface. We continued to a pair of humpbacks who turned out to be Scylla and Shuffleboard. These lovely ladies were spending a lot of time at the surface, and they were doing some very beautiful fluking dives. As our pair was on a dive, we noticed a very large dorsal fin not too far away. It turned out to be a very large Mola mola! We got some great looks at this beautiful fish before getting some last looks at Shuffleboard and Scylla.
The 5pm whale watch made its way to the same area in hopes of similar success. We started on the lovely pair of Scylla and Shuffleboard who were spending a lot of time at the surface. After some great looks at these two, we continued to a single humpback whale who turned out to be Mogul the humpback. After a beautiful fluking dive from Mogul, we spotted a pair of blows not too far away. This turned out to be Tongs with her 2022 calf! The pair was traveling a lot at the surface, so we got some amazing looks at the pair. The calf even popped up right next to the boat! After a beautiful fluking dive from Tongs and her calf we had to head back to Boston. It was a really fantastic day out on Stellwagen Bank!
10am & 230pm Whale Sightings
Today Aboard the Asteria we headed out to the Southern portion of Stellwagen Bank. When we arrived, we were greeted by a number of blows all around our boat! Our first encounter was with two sleepy whales – Tripod and Valley. Both of these whales were logging at the surface which afforded us the opportunity for some awesome looks! After several moments with them, we noticed a large splash in the distance. As we made our way over, smaller splashes took over as this whale went from breaching to flipper slapping! It turned out to be a whale named Nuages. Nuages spent a few minutes flipper slapping and then began taking long dives. We decided to head back South, pausing to watch Tripod and Valley sleep for a few more minutes, until we found another pair of humpbacks. Scylla and Doric were both splashing up a storm – Scylla breached multiple times and Doric spent several minutes flipper slapping. Their behavior quickly calmed down as they both promptly started logging. We spent the remaining time watching these two Humpbacks sleep before making our way back to Boston.
On the 2:30 PM whale watch, we headed back to the Southern edge. Once again, we found ourselves surrounded by over a dozen blows around the Asteria. The closest pair to us turned out to be Milkweed and her 2022 Calf. They started off our trip on an amazing note with one large tail breach from Milkweed, two breaches from the calf, and then a full breach from Milkweed! The bout of surface activity was incredible to witness! After their breaching, the pair began taking short dives, surfacing regularly and staying up for several breaths. The calf surfaced far more often than Milkweed, and it was a joy to watch the calf move around the area! We spent over twenty minutes with the two before moving on. We slowly cruised through the area, watching several whales from a distance before settling with a familiar pair – Tripod and Valley. The behavior of this pair was similar to their behavior in the morning. These two whales spent the entire time logging at the surface but surprised us with beautiful high fluking dives as our last look. It was a wonderful end to a beautiful day on Stellwagen Bank!
Good Evening Whale Enthusiasts,
Today we boarded the Aurora and set our sights on the Southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank, hoping for a cool breeze and some whale sightings.
Upon arriving we spotted two blows in the distance and soon found ourselves in the company of Valley and Tripod! This pair of females appeared to be resting at the surface, taking long breaths before going on lazy shallow dives. We watched them for quite a while, taking in the scope and size of these beautiful animals, both of whom appear from their size to have had a very successful feeding season so far. We were able to get some very close looks as Valley surfaced along our port side, giving us an even greater appreciation for their size, before both whales moved off to continue their nap a distance away.
Before departing the area we got some impressively close looks at a Mola mola! This massive individual drifted along our port side before turning over, presumably to sun it’s other side. All sides of the vessel were able to get great looks at this alien of the deep before we made our way back to Boston.
A lovely day to get offshore.
Linnea and Ashlyn
3:30pm Whale Sightings
Today on the 3:30 pm. whale watch aboard the Aurora, we made our way toward the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank I’m search of wildlife. We had some excellent visibility, allowing us to see several blows in the area. We started with a sleepy pair of humpback whales, who turned out to be Doric and Scylla! They spent ample time at the surface resting, allowing us wonderful looks at this beautiful pair. Intermittently, we spotted two minke whales surfacing in the area, with a noticeable size difference between the two. As the smaller one approached, we noted it’s lighter coloration and significantly smaller size, allowing us to determine it was a calf! This whale circle the boat a couple of times, before heading back to mom. We were noticing other blows, so we made our way to another pair of humpbacks, Milkweed and her 2022 calf! In true fashion, this pair made a close approach, checking out the vessel and allowing for some spectacular views. Some splashing caught our attention, and at this point we met up with another mom and calf, Pleats and her 2022 calf! More curious approaches followed, as the pair hung next to and just under the boat for the next 20 minutes. The calf tried its hardest to master its’ fluking dives, and just as we started to leave the area, a calf fluke broke the surface in a wobbly, but still perfect dive. It was a sweet last look, and so we made our way back toward Boston, having spent another fantastic day offshore.
Ashlyn and Linnea
12 & 5 pm Whale Watch Sightings
The 12 pm whale watch headed out towards the Southwest corner of Stellwagen bank aboard the Sanctuary and quickly found ourselves in the presence of many blows! We spent most of our trip with 2 sleepy humpbacks, Valley and Tripod! These sleepy ladies offered us some great looks, we even got a unique look at Valley as she balanced some seaweed on her rostrum and snaked at the surface. We unfortunately ran out of time, and made our way home to Boston looking forward to the afternoon.
The 5 pm trip returned to the Southwest corner, again seeing blows as far as the eye could see! We started our trip with Tongs and her Calf, who treated us to a close approach. We also got some looks at Shards, who was seen for the first time this season today! We moved on to another pair, consisting of Dyad, and Rapier! While making our way home towards the gorgeous sunset we got plenty of bonus looks at the numerous humpbacks in the area around us.
Overall, a FIN-tastic day on Stellwagen Bank!
Today aboard the Sanctuary, the 10am whale watch made its way out towards Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. After a little bit of searching, we spotted a few blows in the distance. This turned out to be a group of four different humpbacks including Nine, Rapier, Chablis, and Pinball! Pinball eventually broke off from the group and gave us some really incredible close approaches! We also got some really great looks at Mogul, Dross 18 calf, and Dross herself! After some beautiful fluking dives we had to head back to Boston.
The 230pm whale watch made its way towards the same area in hopes of more success. Through the wind, the rain, and the waves we were able to come across Tripod the humpback. She was taking short dives and spending a lot of time at the surface, so we were able to get some incredible looks at her! Tripod traveled into an area with several different humpbacks, so we were able to get some great looks at Rapier who was kick feeding! After some amazing looks at her powerful kicks, and several other humpbacks, we had to head back to Boston. It was a really incredible day out on Stellwagen!
Aboard the Asteria for the 10 am whale watch, gray skies and some heavy rainfall followed us out to the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. As we approached our destination, the clouds broke and some blue patches greeted us, along with several scattered blows! We started our trip with Tripod, who was blowing deep bubble clouds and taking short dives. Freckles entered the area shortly after, engaging in the same behaviors. A minke whale was seen, and we found ourselves hearing a third exhalation, but unable to immediately locate the source. Soon, we noticed a fin whale resting lazily at the surface, just about 100 yards away! This whale kept a low profile, but allowed us some wonderful views in between the surfacing humpbacks. After some time, we headed a little further south to another sea of blows, meeting up with a kickfeeding Rapier, and two other traveling whales. Not to be outdone, Valley and a second individual began a series of breaches! The former then began a bout of tail lobbing, while the other engaged in some flipper slapping. The remainder of our trip was spent with these two, alternating between various spectacular displays. We headed back toward Boston, having spent another memorable day on the water.
Ashlyn and Eman
The Aurora headed out on the 12:00 whale watch towards Stellwagen Bank under rainy skies. Upon approaching the Sanctuary, we were lucky to see that the rain had cleared and found ourselves in the middle of at least 10 solitary humpbacks! We started our trip with Pinball but finished out the remainder of the trip with the feeding Mogul and Dross. While these two whales never joined up, they fed very close together. These whales were taking very shallow dives opposite each other, meaning that rarely a minute passed where one of the whales wasn’t at the surface. Dross was blowing her classic bubble clouds, and towards the end of the journey began feeding directly off our stern and starboard side! Passengers got some fantastic views of these animals, before we had to head back to Boston!
波士顿观鲸：博物学家笔记 - 7/19/22至7/24/22