Saturday, November 20, 2010
Last Whale Watching Trip for the 2010 Season!
1200 Whale Watch - Krill
Winds were high out of the northwest for the last whale watch of the 2010 season. Krill, Tammy, Joanne, Nick and friends dressed up in Halloween costumes for the occasion. And Krill passed out Halloween candy to all whale watch passengers, young and old, as they boarded the boat.
Krill and Annie dressed up in their Halloween customes!
Krill is a whale watching hippi and Annie is a tourist looking for penguins
Joining Krill offshore was Captain John Boats naturalist Joanne and NECWA interns Tammy and Nick. Also heading offshore on this "blustery day" were good friends Annie and Eric. It was great to get the gang together on the last trip of the season. Eric brought his beautiful dog Riker who is a great boat dog even when offshore in rough seas. Riker is quite used to boats since he often joins Eric offshore on his companies whale watches, Alpha Whale Watch out of Provincetown.
Joanne, Annie, Eric and Ricker heading offshore!
As we left Plymouth Harbor for the waters of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, we enjoyed an amazing view of Gurnet Point and Plymouth Light. We were also treated to fabulous views of Northern gannets that were plunge-diving just off Gurnet Point. Northern gannets are the largest seabirds that feed in our waters. Adult gannets feed in our area in the spring and fall and have a 6-foot wingspan with a stunning black & white plumage.
Northern gannet offshore.
As we left the protected waters of Plymouth Harbor, we picked up seas that were 4 to 6 feet due to the northerly winds. Tammy and Krill set-up the educational display on the top deck and invited the passengers to join them. Tammy had dressed up as a pirate and it was fun to see her in costume as she talked about the different artifacts on display including the humpback baleen.
Tammy in her pirate outfit with the educational display items.
When we crossed over the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank, we saw a number of small fishing boats anchored just on the edge of the bank. These boats were fishing for giant bluefin tuna, one of the largest and most commercially valuable species of fish that feeds in our New England waters. As we passed the fishing vessel Bad Dog, we noticed that they had caught a giant bluefin and had tied it to the port (left) side of their vessel. Congratulations on a great catch Bad Dog!
As we continued over the southwest corner, Capt. Brian Bradley slowed the boat down just briefly so Krill, Joanne, Annie and Eric could drop roses and daisies into the water in honor of a good friend who recently passed away.
Joanne, Krill and Annie throwing flowers off the stern.
Capt. Johnny Woods, a longtime tuna fisherman and whale watching captain out of Provincetown died offshore on October 28th. Johnny was also involved in whale research and rescues through the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. For a number of years and until his death, Johnny partnered with Eric on Alpha Whale Watch, a small whale watching business out of Provincetown Harbor.
Photos of Capt. Johnny Woods and Eric on the Dixie II, 2010
Photo of Captain Johnny Woods
Johnny was tuna fishing on his boat the Dixie II with a good friend when they "hooked up." As Johnny fought the giant bluefin tuna that was on the end of his line, Johnny suffered a massive heart attack and died offshore. We will all miss our good friend Johnny Woods for he was a wonderful friend, a great fisherman and an amazing whale watch captain. Johnny often called us when offshore fishing or whale watching to share information on whale sightings.
Captain Johnny Woods on the fly-bridge of the Dixie II.
We will keep his memory alive in our hearts and we will think about Captain Johnny Woods when we head offshore to watch whales feed on sandlance, humpback mothers nurse their young calves and giant bluefin tuna jump clear out of the water. On behalf of the Captain John Boats family, we offer our sincere condolences to the family of Captain Johnny Woods.
Shortly after crossing over the southwest corner, we saw two blows to the east. This sighting turned out to include two humpback whales that were traveling to the northeast. With the high seas and winds, it was difficult to see the animal's body above the water's surface. But our captain did a fabulous job of maneuvering around the whales in these difficult conditions and got us some great looks.
As we headed back to Plymouth Harbor, we reflected on a very successful whale watching season. We talked about old friends, of the whale and the human kind, and we talked about future seasons to come.
Ricker, Joanne, Annie, Eric and Krill heading home.
All the naturalists who work for Captain John Boats would like to take this occasion to thank our passengers who joined us offshore this season and previous seasons. Thank you for supporting our efforts offshore as we work to watch and learn about these amazing marine animals. We hope you will be able to join us again during our 2011 season and we wish you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays this year and in the new year to come.