Whale Sightings 8/8/22 to 8/14/22 Please find the Naturalist Notes for the week of8/8/22 to 8/14/22 from the onboard team of naturalists for our New England Whale Watching tour in partnership with the New England Aquarium.
Today the 10AM Whale Watch headed out to Peaked Hill where we came upon seventeen to nineteen finbacks! We also got close encounters with three humpbacks: Snare and then later Dashdot and her calf. The humpbacks were going on long dives and the fin whales were very surface active and quick. We also saw two minkes and there were about eight other humpbacks in the area.
This morning aboard the Asteria, the 11 am whale watch headed out with a hardy group of passengers in search of cetaceans, and very quickly found a pair of humpback whales! This turned out to be a naturalist favorite mom and calf pair – Nile and her 2022 calf! These whales were logging and spending lots of time at the surface allowing for some fantastic looks! They went on a very long dive, so after they returned to the surface we decided to continue our search to see what else we might find within the sanctuary. We were able to locate 7 humpback whales, and likely close to 100 Atlantic White sided dolphins that were hanging out with these whales, allowing for a very rare look at some interspecies interactions! There were 2 groups of whales here, 1 made up of Mostaza and A-plus, and the other included Venom and her calf, Milkweed and her calf, and Jabiru. We enjoyed incredible looks at these whales while the dolphins treated us to close approaches on all sides of the vessel. After a truly fantastic time with these whales, we realized we had run out of time and had to head home. On our way back, we got some bonus looks at yet another pod of about 30-50 Atlantic white sided dolphins, who were traveling quite quickly at the surface. After some final looks at these dolphins we continued to head home to Boston after an incredible trip.
At noon today we headed out to Stellwagen Bank aboard the Aurora. When we got there, we located several blows of Humpback whales in the area. As we approached, we realized the blows were separated into two different groups. In one group, Mostaza and A-Plus were spending several minutes at the surface and taking short dives. They were travelling quite quickly beneath the surface, but always seemed to stay in the area with us! The second group included Venom and her 2022 calf, Milkweed and her 2022 calf, and Jabiru. The three adults were taking regular short dives while the two calves were at the surface for most of our time on the bank. They kept us busy with some flipper slapping and rolling behavior! We were able to watch both groups of Humpbacks for over thirty minutes before they joined together and formed an association of seven. We were also surprised to have a large pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. The dolphins were porpoising, and swimming all around the boat for almost the entire trip! Towards the end of the trip, we also spotted a small triangular fin in the water. It was a blue shark! The shark stayed up at the surface, swimming on our portside, for several minutes before going back down. We finished up our trip with several most sightings of the Humpback whales diving before heading back to Boston.
Eman & Colin
Today aboard the Sanctuary, the 10am whale watch made its way towards the southern edge of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. After some searching, we spotted a very large splash. This splash turned out to be Pitcher the humpback whale! Pitcher was also with Music the humpback. Pitcher was continuously flipper slapping, and she even breached a few times! Pitcher even popped up right next to the boat! After Pitcher settled down, her and Music went on longer dives. However, they did spend a lot of time at the surface between dives so we were able to get some really awesome looks at them. After a pair of beautiful fluking dives, we had to make our way back to Boston.
Colin and Rachel
We escaped the summer heat today aboard the Asteria and headed to the SW corner of Stellwagen Bank. When we arrived, we found Pitcher and Music traveling and taking shallow dives – maybe taking a rest before the rain storm to come later! This duo split and rejoined several times, all the while traveling south. We also spotted Nile and calf in the distance as well! To wrap up the trip, we had some nice looks of Bounce who approached our boat allowing us to see her impressive size!
Good afternoon fellow whale enthusiasts!
The Aurora headed out towards Stellwagen bank in search of whales and started our trip in the middle of the bank with some sightings of 2-3 minke whales who were circling the area, frequently popping up, allowing for some great looks at this normally elusive species! We continued our search and started to head south, where we found a group of 7-8 humpback whales! While watching these whales, we also got some great looks at a pod of 30-50 Atlantic white sided dolphins, a few more minke whales, a fin whale, and more feeding humpbacks that were dotted around us! We spent our trip with a large group, made up of Milkweed and her Calf, Venom and her Calf, Jabiru, Draco, Gladiator, and 1 other whale we are still working to ID. We were able to get some incredible looks at all these whales, as they were taking short dives, spending lots of time at the surface, and approaching the boat closely! One of the highlights of the trip was when Venoms calf began to spy hop at the surface, while also slowly spinning around! Venoms calf did this a few times, one of which was right off the port side allowing for some awesome looks at this young whale! After a fantastic 4 species day, we had to begin making our way home to Boston.
The 10:00 whale watch searched a good bit of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Samctury, discovering petrels, shearwaters, minke whales and a blue shark before finding a group of four humpback whales. Upon closer inspection we realized that it was once again Venom, Milkweed, and their calves. We watched for a bit as the adults dove, but Milkweed gave a bit of a flick of her flukes and disappeared very quickly- indicating what was about to follow.
Moments later, both adults launched into high, spinning, full breaches followed by Venom’s calf doing the same. The calf, however, continues to breach and roll until it was time for us to head back west, thrilled with the day that we had at sea.
Sightings of the avian variety kicked off our afternoon 2:30 trip, first up a Canada goose off the end of Long Wharf and then a large flock of great, sooty, Cory’s, and Manx shearwaters that tipped us off to an aggregation of minke whales. These 4-5 whales were almost certainly feeding just out of our sights, as indicated by the rapid movement of the birds matching the whales’ movements and the fish in the beaks of the shearwaters. The air was still and the seas quiet and we could really enjoy the sounds of the birds squawking and their feet patting on the water.
We were able to take some quick looks at Venom, Milkweed, their calves, and a fifth humpback, but the real treat was watching fin whales in the late afternoon light with the beaches as a backdrop. The 8-10 whales we scattered around a small area, some of them eventually joining into a group of four. The seas returned to glass and the atmosphere oozed peacefulness as we returned to the harbor, pleased with such a great day!
Today aboard the Asteria, the 11am whale watch made its way towards the southern edge of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. After a little bit of searching, we spotted several blows in the distance. It turned out to be four humpback whales consisting of Milkweed, Venom, and both of their 22 calves! Venom’s calf was breaching several times as we arrived in the area so we were able to get some really great looks at this little jumpy whale! Both Milkweed and Venom were taking fairly short dives and spending a lot of time at the surface so we were able to get some awesome looks at them as well. All four even came up right next to the boat! After some beautiful fluking dives, we had to head back to Boston. It was a really great day out on Stellwagen Bank!
Yesterday aboard the Aurora on the 12pm whale watch we headed south of mid bank to find two mom and calf pairs, Venom and calf and Milkweed and calf. Milkweed’s calf is a bit smaller than Venom’s, so it was easy to spot that calf whenever it would bob to surface (perhaps it can’t hold its breath as long yet!). While the moms were busy deep feeding, Venom’s calf stole the show by rolling around at the surface, and approaching our boat a few times! We also enjoyed watching Venom’s calf fluke quite a bit (Milkweed’s calf is still a little too small to fluke!). While the pattern on Venom’s calf won’t become permanent until later, take a look at the fluke (see photo) and try to find a name based on the pattern. Naturalists and researchers nominate names for flukes and then vote on the best one that fits
Laura and Caitlin
This morning, the Sanctuary headed up to Jeffrey’s Ledge in search of wildlife. We arrived to find a splashy pod of Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins, who cruised right alongside us for a few minutes! Beyond the flurry of dolphin splashes, we could see the spouts of 6-10 Humpback Whales scattered throughout the area. We spent time mainly with two favorite whales here in Massachusetts, Dross and Mogul. They were taking short dives, surfacing with a ring of bubbles behind them. The champion of these bubble rings was Dross, however, who even surfaced right next to us a few times! With other whales in the area, we headed over to some other spouts. We were able to spend a few minutes with Pinball before being surprised by Dross again, as well as Mogul, both having travelled with us it seems. With beautiful looks at our whales and a schedule to keep, we turned home for Boston, anxious to return in the afternoon.
The afternoon trip returned to Jeffrey’s Ledge to find the spouts of Humpback Whales still in the area. We got to catch back up with Pinball and got some great looks at an Ocean Sunfish before going to spend time with a Humpback Whale named Satula, who came up next to us several times, with a bubble ring always nearby. It was so nice to see these whales all feeding in the area, a promising sign that there were a lot of fish under the waves. After starting to make our way for home, we got to see one last Humpback Whale up close, which was Mogul again, who did a beautiful fluking dive as we headed for home. It was a terrific day on the water!
Today aboard the Asteria, the 11am whale watch made its way towards the southern edge of Stellwagen Bank in search of whales and other marine life. Before reaching the bank, we spotted some splashing, so we decided to check it out. It turned out to be a very small humpback whale who was continuously tail breaching and lob tailing! This little whale was even very curious of our boat popping up in either side several times! After some incredible looks at this humpback we made our way towards the bank. Here we found a group of 6 humpbacks consisting of Venom, Venom’s 22 calf, Milkweed, Milkweed’s 22 calf, Tear, and another yet to be identified. This group of 6 was spending a lot of time at the surface so we were able to get some really incredible looks at all 6!
After a series of beautiful fluking dives we had to make our way back to Boston. It was a fantastic day on Stellwagen Bank!
The Aurora ventured north to the southern side of Jefferie’s Ledge on the 12:00 whale watch. We were rewarded by a plethora of whale activity – and found ourselves surrounded by at least 8 humpback whales! These whales were feeding by themselves, but were very close together – all feeding in a small area. We spent time with five individuals – Mogul, Pinball, Satula, Zodiac, and Dross. Because there were so many whales – rarely a minute passed where there wasn’t a whale at the surface. We got some awesome moments – like Pinball approaching our vessel, while in neutral, and giving the passengers on the bow a face-full of whale breathe. We got to see Satula poop right next to our vessel, and Dross bubble-cloud feed! Towards the end of our journey, we also saw an awesome pod of Atlantic-white sided dolphins. There was an adorable dolphin calf in this pod, and it was so cute seeing it swim right next to mom. This dolphin pod at one point surrounded Dross and her bubble cloud – to which she immediately stopped feeding and swam quickly in the opposite direction. Definitely interesting to see the reactions of these large whales to these smaller dolphins!
On our way back to Boston we got some amazing close looks at Thatcher Island – a great way to end our whale watch!
Kate and Maddie
Today aboard the Asteria, the 10am whale watch made its way towards Jeffrey’s Ledge in search of whales and other marine life. After some searching, we spotted several blows in the distance. These blows came from several different humpback whales! Some of the ID’s for the humpbacks we saw today were Dross, Satula, Pinball, Dyad, Mogul, and Freckles. These whales were definitely feeding just beneath the surface as we saw several bubble clouds. These whales were taking very short dives and not moving very far so we were able to get some really great looks at them. Freckles, Mogul, and Satula even popped up right next to the boat a few times! Dross even lunged through a bubble cloud! We also got some really cool looks at Mola mola. After some beautiful fluking dives from several of our whales we had to make our way back to Boston. It was a really great day out on Jeffrey’s Ledge!
Colin, Sydney, and Maddie
11am & 230pm Whale Watch Sightings
Happy Saturday, Whale Watchers!
This morning, the Aurora headed towards the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in search of marine life. Before making it there, we came across four Humpback Whales, and even more special, it was two mother and calf pairs. These were Venom, Milkweed and both of their calves! These whales delighted us with some phenomenal looks, with Venom’s calf repeatedly coming right next to the boat to check us out. This curious calf was rolling around next to us, its eye clearly fixed on us. It is always exciting to see these young calves eager to explore their marine environment, and since we practice very responsible whale watch guidelines, this calf did not seem the least bit concerned about us. Venom and Milkweed surfaced next to us multiple times as well, making for some unbelievable views on their massive size. Milkweed’s calf even joined in the fun, hanging out next to us for a moment and even chin breaching before we made our way home to Boston!
The afternoon trip decided to head north to Jeffrey’s Ledge, where we encountered 12-14 Humpback Whales in the vicinity. We started our trip with a whale named Mogul, who was taking short dives and travelling slowly. We also spotted Pinball nearby, doing the very same thing. Among the whales was a pod of Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins, who were darting through the area, even passing close by us a few times. While waiting to see where these whales would resurface, we got a very close approach by none other than Dross, a favorite Humpback Whale! She was blowing bubble clouds beneath the surface, before taking fluking dives next to us. She is beloved for her beautiful high dives, and as was mentioned on the boat today, they were “chef’s kiss, 10/10.” We even got a quick look at a Humpback named Cat’s Paw before we ran out of time and had to make our way back to Boston.
The 12:00 whale watched headed north in search of wildlife aboard the Sanctuary. After a bit of drive, we found ourselves on the Southern tip of Jefferies Ledge. There were 6-7 scattered single humpbacks in the area – and we spent our time with Pinball, Dross, and Freckles! Towards the end of the trip, we were able to see a large finwhale slicing through the water – a great example of the massive size difference of these animals! A great group of passengers also pointed a blue shark swimming right by our boat – a great way to wrap up the trip!
The 5:00 whale watch headed north, and we ended up a little closer to land – much closer to the town of Rockport. Although we were relatively close to where we were this morning – we found ourselves surrounded by many more animals! In our evening trip, we counted over 10 humpback whales, 2-3 fabulous minkes, 1 fin whale, 5 gray seals, and a blue shark! The blue shark was right next to our vessel and was swimming in and around the fishing line – at times rubbing its stomach against the buoy/rope. While in the morning trip the humpback whales were seen solitary feeding – the afternoon trip saw at least 3 humpback pairs! We spent time with Music and friend, Jabiru and friend, and most of our trip with Quote and Ebony. Quote is a known mom so it’s likely her calf was one of the many blows we saw in the area! Surrounded by curious gray seals, Quote gave us a great tail breach to end our trip!
We headed back to Boston under a beautiful sunset!
Good evening fellow whale enthusiasts!
This afternoon, the Asteria headed out towards Jefferies ledge in search of Cetaceans, and we sure did find them! We estimated about 15 or more humpbacks around us, everywhere we looked we could see blows! We started our trip with Dross and Satula. These humpbacks were both feeding close by one another, evidenced by their bubble clouds. We moved on to some other blows in the area, and while heading over there we were very lucky to see a humpback breach! This turned out to be Mogul, and we got a few more looks at Mogul before moving on to get some looks at Freckles, Tripod, and Dyad. We rounded out our trip with some final looks at Dross and Satula, and another breach from a whale in the distance, before we began our journey home to Boston after a fantastic day on Jefferies.
Overall a wonderful day for whale watching!
Sydney, Colin, and Maddie
It was a picture perfect day to ride out to southern Jeffreys Ledge to find several humpback whales just a few miles off the coast of Rockport. We spotted Quote and Ebony and spent a bit of time with them as they drifted along, with some intermittent flipper slapping here and there. Two other humpbacks were nearby, but we weren’t able to get close enough to get good photos since they were surrounded by rec boats. Quote and Ebony surprised us with a breach and flipper slapping, which attracted all of the rec boats and yachts in the area and the next thing we knew we were surrounded as well. It was unnerving to be in that much traffic and I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be a whale trying to travel, eat, sleep, and socialize with so many people so close. Hopefully they will find a reason to move a bit farther offshore and lessen the amount of people who approach them.
The 2:30 whale watch started out significantly more peaceful with Valley and Ravine, but there was more to be concerned about when Valley, who had been resting and was only partially conscious, drifted right into the path of a lobster pot buoy. She noticed it at the very last second (whales eyes are on the sides of their head, so visibility directly in front of them is limited) and she arched away and dove down before surfacing on the other side. I’ll be honest, I was just waiting for those buoys to sink. Somehow her grace and agility saved her and she remained gear-free. But it was a grim reminder of how dangerous their habitat is- and this whale has had a tough summer.
Not far from the pair we were able to watch a pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins with the tiniest, cutest little calves. They were making moves to the south so we then spent time with Quote and Ebony once again. As we turned back for Boston, I caught a glimpse from the corner of my eye of a mola mola flying through the air. We were able to turn and take a quick glimpse before it dove down. A minke whale made a brief appearance and was recorded thanks to Liza’s eagle eye, and we returned back content with our afternoon.
Laura L. and Liza
11am and 3:30pm Whale Sightings
Today we boarded the Aurora under clear skies and a light breeze, pointing our bow toward the North Shore.
We arrived on Jeffrey’s Ledge among dozens of recreational boaters and soon found blows in their midst. Approaching carefully, we soon saw some white water nearby and found Patches! A humpback engaged in some flipper slapping. Not far from Patches we also saw a couple more blows who soon revealed themselves to be Valley and Ravine. This pair performed a stunning tandem dive, leaving behind the fizz of a dissolving bubble cloud. We drifted just behind all three whales, getting continued looks of double flipper slapping from Patches on our port side, and regular, synchronized dives from Ravine and Valley. The pair was joined by a third mystery whale at the tail end of our journey, but alas, we were unable to stay to identify this animal. Sneaking out between the other recreational vessels proved a bit of a challenge and an excellent opportunity to educate our passengers about responsible whale watching. Luckily, all of the vessels around us stuck to good guidelines and kept a respectful distance from the whales during our trip.
Eager to head out for our second sojourn to Jeffrey’s Ledge, we found ourselves in an almost completely different cohort of marine life! Our first sighting was of a large pod of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins! We got some wonderful looks at some tiny calves included in the pod, keeping close to their mothers. A special sighting!
Our next sightings proved to be similarly special. We spotted some scattered blows and soon saw three whales surface. These were Spoon, Quote and Jabiru! Spoon’s calf seemed to be testing its independence a little and was not seen tucked under mom’s flipper as we tend to see younger calves do. There was a fair amount of milling about, the whales joining together and splitting apart between dives. We caught a quick glimpse of Patches once again, tossing a tail right out of the water! We also got a look at a new whale to add to our list, Gunslinger!
Our multispecies day came to a close with impressive looks at a Mola Mola! This dense bony fish sunned itself and drifted slowly just below the surface near our bow pulpits.
All told, an exceptional day out on the water!
Linnea and Maddie
12pm and 5pm Whale Sightings
We boarded the Sanctuary for the 12pm whale watch and made a northern coast in search of whales. A small pod of harbor porpoises kicked off our sightings, and a little further northeast we met up with about 8-10 humpback whales! These whales were taking short dives, likely feeding just subsurface, allowing us some extended viewing time. IDs included Clamp, Doric, Nine, and Tripod! We also spotted a Mola mola that spent plenty of time basking at the surface, making for a multi species day. Soon, it was time to head back to Boston in preparation for our next trip.
We returned to the southern end of Jeffrey’s Ledge for our sunset trip, and somehow found ourselves counting about three times the amount of whales as this morning. Our trip started with a perfectly simultaneous double breach from Ebony and Quote, the latter engaging in an extended bout of flipper slapping. Some more splashing caught our eye, and our attention turned to a tail lobbing humpback, but our eyes continued to the horizon where we could just make out large splashes and the bodies of humpback whales leaving the water. One theory for extended surface activity such as breaching and flipper slapping is that it is used for communication, and if there was ever a trip where that was evident it was today. Splashes close by, a mile away, and as far as our eyes could see disturbed the surface, all various displays from humpback whales. Our trip wrapped up with sightings of Spoon and Patches traveling together, and another pair of Orbit and Doric. We watched as they went on beautiful fluking dives, a glorious end to the trip, but Orbit had other plans as she erupted into a full spinning breach for an extra special last look. A beautiful sunset welcomed us back to Boston on our return from another spectacular day offshore.
波士顿观鲸：博物学家笔记 - 7/19/22至7/24/22