9 am whale watch trip on the Tails of the Sea:
There's definitely no way that you could ask for a more pleasant day on the water. It was flat calm out in the Atlantic Ocean, and there was a relaxed enjoyment for all. There were many humpbacks spread throughout our usual haunt of the Southeast Corner of Stellwagen.
The afternoon whale watch was still beautifully calm just like the morning trip and the water sort of boiled over with humpbacks. I have 14 humpbacks that I've identified so far but there's almost the same number that I haven't figured out yet. Also during this trip, we were able to observe some really cool behaviors that I have never seen with my own eyes before and that was fantastic. I've seen these unusual behaviors in pictures and have heard people talk about them, but this was the first time that I got to see it in the wild.
The seas were calm and glassy as we travelled offshore. As we approached the south eastern portion of Stellwagen Bank we started seeing a number of blows in front of us. We realized that we had 10-12 humpback whales scattered all around the boat.
We focused on a single humpback whale that was rolling around at the surface. After several minutes of watching this whale, it became clear that it was side lunge feeding. This whale had a distinct dorsal fin that had several barnacles on top and this unique dorsal looked like it belonged to a whale named Moonlight. We got a quick glimpse of the right fluke of this whale as it lunged across the surface on its side and we were able to confirm that this whale was Moonlight. We watched Moonlight continue to side lunge at the surface and we got amazing looks at the lower jaw and ventral throat pleats (rorquals) of the humpback.
There was another pair of humpbacks in the immediate area who were also side lunge feeding. At one point this pair surfaced on their sides, throats distended and engulfing their prey in complete unison on the port side of our boat! It was an incredible site to see the whole ventral (underside) side of two humpbacks at the same time.
We even had a couple of animals with sharp, pointed dorsal fins make a very brief appearance off our bow and our captain identified them as tuna. The tuna were likely feeding on the same small fish that the whales were consuming. Sooner than we liked, we had to head home, but on our way one of our passengers spotted a minke whale that was passing through the area behind us. Another great day of whale watching!
Humpback whales identified include: Echo, Moonlight, Snare, Zap, Pogo 2007 calf.