The skies were gray, but the sightings were amazing and cheered our hearts as we watched 5 humpback whales feeding all around the boat. Most of the feeding by the humpbacks was at the surface and this made for great viewing of these rare and endangered animals.
As we approached the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank, we saw the Tails of the Sea, our sister ship, watching Division and Barb feeding off their port side. As they moved on, we picked up this pair and were amazed to see how they coordinated their efforts to work side-by-side. Division would first kick at the water's surface creating a huge disturbance. Then both animals would dive beneath the school of fish and blow columns of bubbles to create a bubble column. As we waited for the whales to lunge at the surface, gulls and shearwaters flocked above the greenish bubbles hoping to snatch a stray sand lance.
We didn't have to wait long to see mouth's wide open scooping up as much water and fish as possible. And then Division would remain at the surface keeping her head out of the water straining as Barb did all his straining down below.
At one point and time in our whale watch, two other humpbacks that were also surface feeding in the area joined Barb and Division. But that association quickly dissolved and our pairs feed separately, but remained in the same area.
Ventisca and Wizard also maintained a very close association and even our passengers could identify the two. Ventisca has a lot of white pigmentation on her dorsal fin, tail stock and flukes while Wizard has a pointed dorsal fin and a very white ventral tail pattern.
We also had Etch-a-Sketch, another female humpback whale, in the area who was also surface feeding, but on her own. And in the midst of all this excitement, a young gray seal surfaced right next to the boat. What a trip!