Saturday, September 25, 2010
12 noon Whale Watch Trip - Krill
We had increasing winds from the SW of up to 20 knots and seas building from 2 to 4 feet. But our crew and passengers onboard were ready for a thrilling whale watch and that is exactly what happened today offshore.
One of our groups onboard included staff, parents and students from Northbrook Academy, a private middle school located in Raynham, MA. This school knows the learning benefits and life experiences that can only be learned by heading offshore with us for the chance to view some of the largest and most endangered mammals in the world. Students and teachers alike had fun on the bow of the boat as they enjoyed "Mother Natures" roller coaster ride.
As we crossed over Stellwagen Bank heading to the east side of this underwater plateau, we came into an area with at least 10 to 15 humpback whales and 2 to 3 minke whales. Most of the humpbacks were traveling on their own or in small groups. Many were probably feeding deep, but since we can't see that, we can only assume what they are doing once they dive beneath the water's surface.
But one smallish humpback whale caught our attention as it started tailbreaching next to the boat. Then the whale started lobtailing both right side up and upside down. We were able to get a great look at the underside of this animal's tail or fluke and identified it as a whale named Astronomy.
As we held position for Astronomy, this whale breached (jumped) clear out of the water just off our starboard side. What a thrill for all of our passengers to see Astronomy launch itself out of the water. Only when a whale breaches out of the water or comes over to the boat to investigate us do we get a better feel for how big, beautiful and powerful these animals truly are.
As we watched Astronomy continue to be active right next to the boat, two interns were hard at work recording sighting data and taking video of the whales around the boat. Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours provides internship support to two different nonprofit organizations in the area.
(Dominica and Tammy hard at work!)
One organization is the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance (NECWA at www.necwa.org). The second nonprofit is the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS at www.wdcs.org). A big thank you to Captain John Boats for providing this support to young adults and professionals within our community who have an interest in the field of marine biology.
As we watched Astronomy, a fishing boat moved quickly through the area. Watching this vessel jump up and down as it rode the waves was a good reminder of how rough it was offshore. But our passengers were enjoying not only the incredible views of the whales, but also the ride! We had a tough crew onboard and everyone was having a great time.
We ended up with good looks at 4 other humpbacks including Elephant, Pumba, Hancock and Alegbra. A fabulous day of whale watching and a fabulous group of people to join us.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Cape Cod Canal & Lobster Dinner Cruise - Krill
We had a beautiful evening for our scheduled Cape Cod Canal & Lobster Dinner Cruise. Our captain onboard, Capt. Jonny Dennen, and crew which included Diane, Joanne, Ron and Rich, did a fabulous job while offshore.
This cruise was a collaboration of Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours and Woods Seafood, a local restaurant down situated on the Town Wharf that specializes in local cuisine and the freshest seafood imaginable. As we left Plymouth Harbor aboard the Tails of the Sea, our passengers were served delicious clam chowder by Courtney and Ashley, the staff of Woods Seafood who accompanied us offshore.
As we headed down into Cape Cod Bay, we were all set for the main course that included lobster, barbecued chicken, corn on the cob and steamers. What a feast! We arrived at the east entrance to the Cape Cod Canal and rounded the breakwater just as dinner was ending. Many of our passengers were outside and enjoying the view as we slowly moved into the canal. We could see people walking along the breakwater and fishing for their dinners to come.
As we continued our journey, we passed the Cape Cod Canal Visitor's Center, the Coast Guard Station, Sandwich Marina and Mirant's Power Plant. Throughout this trip, I provided a narrative on the buildings, businesses and institutions situated along the canal's length as well as giving a overview of the Canal's history and features.
The first bridge we went under was the Sagamore Bridge. This bridge is less than 2 1/2 miles from the east entrance and our passengers enjoyed the mariners view our captain provided as we slowly moved under the bridge on our way through the canal.
By this time, dessert was being served with complimentary coffee. What a perfect and "fruity" way to end a delicious New England style dinner.
The second bridge we went under was the Bourne Bridge. This bridge won the American Institute of Steel Construction ‘s Class “A “ Award of Merit as the “The Most Beautiful Bridge Built During 1934.”
We moved along the canal, we saw people walking, jogging and riding their bikes along the 7 mile service roads that line both sides of the canal. And many people were fishing along the rocky edge of the canal. And we enjoyed viewing the boats that passed us as we continued our journey to the west end.
We finished our trip as we passed Massachusetts Maritime Academy and their training vessel the Kennedy, renamed last year in honor of Senator Ted Kennedy. A fabulous trip with good food, friends and views. We hope you can join us for one of our canal cruises next season.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Beach Cleanup at Ellisville Harbor State Park - Krill
This morning, Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours joined with the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance (NECWA) and students at Northbrook Academy, to conduct a beach cleanup through the Coastsweep program. The is the second annual beach cleanup conducted by this trio that represents a local business, a volunteer nonprofit organization and a local private school.
Coastsweep is the statewide beach cleanup sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and coordinated by the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) of the University of Massachusetts Boston. This is the 23rd year of beach cleanups coordinated by Coastsweep.
COASTSWEEP is part of the International Coastal Cleanup organized by The Ocean Conservancy in Washington, DC. 201 marks the International Coastal Cleanup's 25th anniversary. Participants all over the world collect marine debris and record the types of trash they collect.
This cleanup event was held at the Ellisville Harbor State Park. Ellisville Harbor is a unique coastal property, including an 18th century farmstead, beachfront, salt marsh, rolling meadows, and red pine forest. It's also one of the most scenic spots on the South Shore coastline, where you can see small fishing boats, a barrier beach, sphagnum bog, forested upland and open meadows.
Data is collected during each cleanup effort. Participants are given standardized data sheets where they tally the different types of marine debris that is found. This information is then used to determine the severity of the problem, to better access the impact of marine debris on coastal ecosystems and to determine how best to reduce marine debris.
Captain John staff, NECWA staff, Northbrook Academy students and their parents worked together to pick up over 12 pounds of plastics, metals and papers from the beach and the marsh area. And they documented over 15 broken lobster traps that will now hopefully be removed by the town of Plymouth.
Everyone worked hard and had a great time picking up marine debris. And what fabulous weather for a cleanup effort! Students and adults alike had fun investigating the beach and marsh areas by looking for live critters including fiddler crabs, shorebirds and small school fish. Students had fun getting wet and skipping stones in the marsh. And most everyone picked up beautiful stones, sea glass, shells, lobster shells and other interesting artifacts on the beach.
Way to go all our volunteers and we look forward to another fun and productive beach cleanup next September!