Thursday, September 16, 2010
Whale Watching Trip September 16, 2010---Joanne
We traveled offshore with clear skies, light winds, and relatively calm seas. For this time of year, the seas were extremely calm, compared to the last few days.
We headed to Race Point, off the tip of Cape Cod, where we had received reports of a number of whales close to shore.
We began our trip with a pair of juvenile humpback whales. This pair became curious of our boat and spent nearly 45 minutes circling around and under us. This curious approach gave us an amazing opportunity to see the entire outline of the whale, as well as a close up of the eye and the flippers when one of the whales rolled right over next to us.
As we watched this pair and drifted, being cautious to not move our boat until they were a safe distance from us, we saw a couple of minke whales and spouts from half a dozen additional humpbacks in the area.
Once this pair was through with their curious approach and a safe distance from us, we traveled towards the beach and got a look at a mother and calf pair (cow/calf) named Citation and calf. This pair was logging/resting at and near the surface, barely moving.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
12:00 Whale Watch - Krill
We had clear skies as we headed offshore, but then a front moved into the area. This front brought heavy rains from the northeast. But our passengers were not phased by the rain and many remained outside to watch the whales.
We had most of the sightings east of Stellwagen Bank. In this area, we had at least 20 to 25 humpback whales and 3 to 5 minke whales. Our first sighting was a pair of whales that turned out to be Hancock and Pumba. This pair appeared to be feeding deep and really stayed away from the other groups of whales. As we watched Hancock and Pumba, a third humpback whale named Belly surfaced just behind them. Belly has a beautiful ventral tail pattern that is mainly white, but with some unique black lines and areas.
We then picked up a group of 8 humpback whales that were feeding deep in unison. This group turned out to include two mother and calf pairs who were Perseid and calf and Cajun and calf. Also in this group were Milkweed, Aerospace, Jabiru and one animal that I could not identify.
Cajun's calf was sticking very close to mom during the entire time we stayed with this group. But Persied's calf spent most of its time away from the group and very close to our boat. Persied's calf is quite a character and has been very independent from the get go. But what a beautiful and very special calf it is.
As we watched this group of 8, something happened and two of the whales breached out of the water, one after the other. I am not sure who the first breacher was, but the second humpback to breach was Milkweed. Shortly after this breathtaking, aerial display, the single humpback split from the larger group. I wonder if the first whale to breach was the unknown humpback.
The rains came down heavy so we moved to another sighting to the west. Although we picked up a few more individuals, nothing was as impressive as the group of 8 humpbacks and the spinning head breaches.
Always a surprise offshore and that is one reason we keep going back. Never a dull moment! On the way home, we looked off the stern or back of the boat and saw a beautiful rainbow behind us. What a way to end today's trip!
1200 Whale Watch - Lauren
We left a hazy, rain threatening Plymouth Harbor and found a sunny spot out on Stellwagen bank where the whales were abundant! The seas were very calm with only about 5-10 mph wind, coming from the SSW. We saw a humpback whale breaching in the distance, so we headed straight for him. By the time we got to this whale he had tuckered out, but there were plenty of whales around to keep us entertained!
There were so many whales around our boat that at times we did not know where to look. Most of the humpback whales were traveling together in groups today, which is unusual since they do not typically travel in pods like toothed whales do. Humpback whales are known occasionally to have brief associations, whether that is traveling together for a few days or just feeding in the same area. But what a great opportunity our passengers had to see so many whales in such a brief time! We saw about 15-18 different humpback whales all surfacing together, traveling together, making close approaches to our boat, and even making some social sounds such as trumpeting.
Included in our groups were three mother and calf pairs: Echo and calf , Cajun and calf, and Perseid and calf. Other whales that we were able to identify in these groups were Draco, Release, Buzzard, Jabiru, Dracula, Penisula, Rocker, Rapier, and Canopy.