Wednesday, April 18, 2012
April 15, 2012 Whale Watch
12 noon Whale Watch - Krill
We had a great trip offshore with light winds and excellent visibility. As we headed out of Plymouth Harbor, we saw a few harbor seals hauled out on the rocks that are to the left of Duxbury Lighthouse. As we headed offshore, we saw large numbers of Northern gannets east of the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. We knew this was a good sign for Northern gannets feed on the same small schooling fish that whales do. So if you find gannets, you typically find whales.
Northern gannets are also amazing aerial divers as they plunge straight into the water from a height of over 30 feet. To see these seabirds spiral in the air as they maneuver over the fish is breathtaking.
As we continued east, we saw a blow off the bow. This turned out to be a humpback whale named Indiana who seemed to be just moving through the area. As we waited for Indiana to surface, a finback whale moved into our area. Since finbacks are the largest baleen whale in our area, we decided to move over to look at this animal.
When the whale surfaced off our port side, we saw nothing unusual about the right side of this animal. But when it came up a second time off our starboard side giving us a look at its left flank, we saw a series of dark propellor scars running up its bank. Hard to imagine that even the fast finback whale can be susceptible to vessel strikes.
Our next sighting was a pair of humpback whales that were feeding just beneath the surface. This turned out to be Reflection and Jabiru. Reflection was kick feeding at the surface and then both animals were diving beneath this disturbed water.
Soon we saw bubble rising which indicated that one or both animals were blowing bubbles at depth. As the bubble rose to the surface, so did the whales, as they finished their open mouth lunges. What a great sight to see these two whales working cooperatively. But you just had to wonder if Reflection was doing most of the work. Hmmm.
Our next sighting was a small pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins who were traveling in the area. As they surfaced all around the boat, we got great looks at their beautiful markings and pigmentation patterns.
A wonderful day offshore with amazing looks at some very special marine wildlife. We hope you can join us offshore soon.