Archive for August, 2011

August 5th 2011
Six Whale Watches, One Update!

Posted under whale watches

This won’t be as long a post as the title might have you think. While I have indeed been out on 6 trips now, the first four were not terribly newsworthy.

Bayou on Stellwagen Bank, 28 May 2011My season kicked off, as it often does, in Provincetown over Memorial Day Weekend. I did three trips over as many days with the Dolphin Fleet. While whale activity had been pretty good in the month leading up, a big nor’easter off the coast a bit before the weekend seemed to have moved much of the activity quite a ways off shore. We also had a fair bit of fog that weekend which made things a little challenging. Notable sighting of the weekend was Bayou, the 2006 calf of Trident. Bayou now sports a damaged right fluke from a propellor injury, making it an easy fluke to ID. I saw Bayou as a calf but didn’t know until this trip about the injury.

Next trip, July 1, on Yankee Fleet out of Gloucester. We went north to Jeffreys Ledge where there had been reports of a fair amount of activity. We didn’t find any of that on this day, and spent time with some fin whales instead. While they tend to be notoriously hard to watch because they move quickly and don’t ‘do’ as much at the surface, we did get some good looks.

Things finally got exciting on July 16. I did two trips out of Gloucester that day, the first on Cape Ann Whale Watch (with naturalists from Ocean Alliance) thanks to a Groupon and the second on Capt Bill and Sons (naturalists from the Whale Center of New England). The big action is down off Provincetown right now, so that’s where both trips went. True to form for whale watching, each trip was quite different while also being quite good.

In the morning on Cape Ann WW, we spent most of our trip with a couple of  juvenile humpbacks who pretty much mugged the boat. We were unable to move for about 45 minutes because they were hanging out right under the back end of the boat. Not that we minded – we were getting great looks! Got my first close up photo of a whale’s eye (too bad the eye was closed) and Greenbean, one of the juvies, made a point of splashing the boat with its flukes from only about 20-30 feet away, if that.

Later that same day on Captain Bill’s, we returned to the SE corner of Stellwagen. Didn’t see any of the same whales from the morning, but we did have some active adults, including Echo and Tectonic traveling togeher. They seem to be one of Stellwagen’s great enduring ‘friendships’, coming together often over the years like Salt and Cardhu are known to do. Leah, the naturalist, reported that National Geographic had worked with the Whale Center to attach a critter cam to Echo and the resulting footage showed her and Tectonic (a male) working very well together under water in their hunt for food. Echo treated us to a breach too, which I managed to catch (even if distantly).  Other whales we found on this trip included Pele, Alphorn, Jabiru and Sloop.

Photos coming soon, I promise, as well as another post about a trip on 3 August.

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