2013 Sightings: May 21, 10 am

On the 10:00 am whale watch on the Asteria, we traveled through thick fog to the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. As we approached the area where we have been viewing whales recently, the fog lifted and we had visibility for miles!

Falcon completing a terminal, or sounding, dive

There were a total of 6–8 feeding humpback whales (alone or in groups of 2–3) close to the boat during the trip. There were approximately 15 humpbacks in the area, with several blows and some surface feeding observed in the distance. We also got great looks at minke whales deep feeding and popping up all around us (at least 5 nearby). There was an abundance of diving gannets and a also a couple of great looks FROM grey seals next to the boat. Lots of food in the area = a good show!

There was plenty of surface activity to be observed, including kick feeding and bubble feeding. We got great looks at 33 year-old Falcon’s fluke (scarred with rake marks from orca teeth). You can see the distinct ‘trailing edge’ on the top part of Falcon’s fluke. This is one way researchers identify individual humpbacks.

Later on, dynamic duo Zeppelin and Fracture showed up together again, diving in sync and surface feeding. Zeppelin is a female and the 1989 calf of Milky Way. She has been consistently rolling on her side while bubble feeding, showing off one side of her lovely black fluke with splashes of white.  Looking forward to more great trips!

-- Christine Palmeri

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