Monday, June 28, 2010
Whale Watching Trip June 25, 2010
9 am and 2 pm Whale Watches - Joanne
9 am trip
We traveled out of Plymouth Harbor with near perfect conditions: clear skies, warm air, calm seas. We headed across Stellwagen Bank to an area a bit farther northeast then we'd spent the last few days/weeks based on a report from one of the Captain John Fishing boats. When we arrived we had over a dozen surface feeding humpback whales. In every direction, whales were kicking their tails, blowing bubbles and rings to trap fish and coming up with mouths wide open, some dragging at the surface. The feeding lasted until the tide went slack and just like a switch, the whales stopped feeding and several started to breach. We had whales jumping out of the water in 3 different directions. Typically when the tide changes, whales stop feeding, if they have been feeding. Something very similar is seen with fishing (fish not biting during slack tide).
Humpbacks identified, included: Fern, Pepper, Milkweed, Sword, Grackle, Cajun + calf
In the afternoon, the sea conditions approached near perfect and glassy, with sunny clear skies. We headed to the southeast edge of Stellwagen where we came across several humpback whales. Behaviors included flipper slapping and breaching. The whales were very social and groups were joining, separating, rejoining, separating. By the time we had to return to port, a gorup of 8 whales had come together.
Like all baleen whales, humpbacks are solitary animals, but they are still very social. Associations are usually short term, especially while feeding. Some whales do form longer term associations, that may last days or weeks or even from year to year. When groups are changing, there often is aerial displays, including flipper slapping and breaching.
Humpback whales identified, include: Ventisca, Ganesh, Sword, Cajun +calf, Pele , Tracer, Pepper