24th 2009
Whales and Whales and Whales, Oh My!

Posted under whale watches

That pretty much sums up today’s whale watch. Went out again from Provincetown on the Dolphin Fleet‘s Portuguese Princess. Weather was a little nicer. Still cool with a breeze but the sun came out while we were on Stellwagen Bank, no rain! Better weather also meant a more crowded boat. According to the naturalist, Mark Gilmore, there were around 200 people on board a 350-capacity boat. That was plenty crowded for me!

Our trip today took us a little farther away from shore as Race Point was out of sight. But once we found whales, it was rather like hitting the jackpot! We found Ventiska again, hanging out with a mother and calf. We got good looks at them, and could see several other spouts in the vicinity, though the whales at this spot were not being especially active at the surface.

Eventually we did move on towards some big splashes in the distance. On the way, we passed a whale off in the distance who was going some chin breaching. And we were clearly headed towards the bait as we had a pair of humpbacks swimming parallel to the boat and moving at about the same rate of speed. Once we arrived at the center of activity, it became a matter of not knowing where to look. We might be looking out at 3:00 and seeing a bubble net when Mark would announce something happening right next to the boat at 9:00. There was lunging, open mouth feeding, kick feeding, considerable bird activity (including a couple seen standing on the head of a dragging humpback), and bubble nets. Since we came to this area towards the end of our time out on Stellwagen, we couldn’t stay terribly long though the captain did extend our visit by a little bit. It was hard to tear away with all of the activity. The boat had to go somewhat slowly for a while because there were just spouts and whales everywhere.

For the trip summary, Mark reported on several whales he was able to ID from his photos, including Ventiska, Ganesh and calf, Abrasion, Dome, Putter, Nazca, and Cosmos. I look forward to getting my own shots back (over 125) to see how many of these flukes I was able to get. All told for whales in the immediate area only, the trip’s total was 23-25. There were so many spouts in the distance, including for a large part of the trip back in, that I can’t venture a good guess for how many whales were seen even just distantly. We also saw 1-2 fin whales and a minke moving through. It was a terrific trip!

Oh, and I noticed as we passed Herring Cove that there was seemingly not a trace of the previous day’s activity with the dead fin whale. All of the equipment and staging area were gone so it seems the crew was able to complete their work yesterday.

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