9 am trip:
Today was definitely the hottest day of the summer so far with land temperatures getting close to 100 degrees. Today’s whale watching trips were also some of the best we’ve had in a while! On the morning trip, we had fantastic active surface behavior, including spinning head breaches from humpback whales named Coral, Dracula and Venom’s calf of this year. We also saw flipper slapping from Dracula and Venom’s calf. Venom’s calf was feeling quite playful this morning, as this young whale was repeatedly breaching and flipper slapping while it waited for mom to return to the surface.
We then picked up a single humpback whale named Putter who was feeding. We watched with excitement as Putter would produce a bubble net and then come up through the middle with a mouth full of fish. We got beautiful looks at the head and mouth of Putter as he was straining the water out of his mouth at the surface.
After several minutes with Putter, we moved to an area with 20-25 feeding humpbacks all around us! In this feeding frenzy, we saw humpback feeding techniques like bubble netting and kick feeding. We could see the baleen hanging down from the upper jaw as these whales would surface with mouths wide open. We also saw several minke whales circling in the area and who were likely getting in on the feast! It was a fabulous morning of whale watching!
Humpbacks whales identified so far include: Coral, Venom and calf, Alphorn, Dracula, Strike, Putter, Cajun, Colt, Etch-a-Sketch, Abrasion.
2 pm trip:
The afternoon trip was just as amazing as the morning trip! We had more surface feeding in the afternoon. Our first sighting was of a humpback named Rocker and Rocker had an interesting way of feeding. Each humpback whale has a unique way that they like to catch their prey and Rocker’s was particularly fascinating to watch. Rocker was doing chin-kick feeding for he would come up and do a slight chin breach and then do one kick at the surface to stun the prey. Several seconds later Rocker would up through the bait with what looked like a full mouth and then he would roll over onto his back. Rocker did this sequence of chin-kick, gulp, roll several times and it was so intriguing and amazing to watch.
While we were watching Rocker, we were also surrounded by a dozen or so minke whales and a pair of finback whales who were also lunge feeding at the surface. It was quite the scene to be surrounded by three species at once-the smallest minke whales, the medium-sized humpback and the second largest whale in the world, the finback!
The rest of our afternoon was spent watching more amazing feeding behavior. Like the morning trip, we had 20 or so whales scattered throughout the area. We got great looks at a humpback named Coral, who was kick feeding and lunging at the surface. It was interesting to see how Coral’s feeding techniques differed from Rocker’s. We then caught up with a couple of groups of whales. In one group of 4-5 was Salt, the most famous whale in the Gulf of Maine.
As this groups passed behind us, we once again found ourselves in the middle of humpbacks, finbacks and minkes as everyone was working the bait. We would look down periodically and see the massive schools of fish in the water below us, looking shiny and silvery beneath the surface. It was incredible to see how much bait was right beneath our boat!
We ended our trip with one last feeding display. We had bubble nets all around our bow when 5-7 humpbacks swam under our boat and came up with open mouths right on the other side of the boat! It was a sight that no one on board will forget. An absolutely wonderful, 3-species day of whale watching! Humpbacks identified so far include: Rocker, Coral, Rattan, Salt, Strike, Tungusta, Dracula, Spike, Abrasion, Reflection.