2013 Sightings: June 29, 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Today at 12:00pm on the Aurora we headed up to our spot on the southern tip of Jeffrey’s Ledge. We searched for a while and were worried we may not find anything until Pinball and Satula popped up. We spent some time with Pinball who was only staying down for 3-5 minutes. She gave us amazing looks at her tail, and when we were headed off Pinball to check out Satula, she breached! We headed back to her, but she unfortunately did not continue this behavior. She still gave us great looks before we again headed to check out Satula. Overall, it was a great trip with two different whales that stole the show, as usual.

Pinball’s fluke as water poured off of it

Today at 5:30pm on the Aurora we headed back up to the southern tip of Jeffrey’s Ledge. Again, it took us a while to find the whales, but eventually we spotted Pinball. She came real close to our boat as she surfed through the 5 foot seas. At one point, she even rolled onto her side, showing us her pectoral flipper, and she flicked her tail when she took several dives. Overall, we saw some pretty cool behaviors other than the typical breathing and fluking. After some great looks, we headed into the sunset, back to Boston.


2013 Sightings: June 29, 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

On the Cetacea’s 2 p.m. whale watch today, we headed north toward Jeffrey’s Ledge after hearing rumors that Pinball and Satula were in the area. When we arrived at the Ledge, Pinball the humpback was deep feeding solo and we were able to observe her for a while. She was fluking consistently and popped up near the boat several times. It was great to have the fog lift so we could view one of our favorite whales of the season!

Pinball diving | You can see barnacles attached to the side of her fluke.
A humpback can host almost 1,000 pounds of barnacles!

This morning on the Cetacea’s 9 a.m. whale watch, we headed north towards Jeffrey’s Ledge. On the way, we encountered thick patches of fog, limiting visibility greatly. We moved around quite a bit to continue searching, but unfortunately there were no whale sightings. All passengers were issued rain checks, just like the 10 a.m. trip.

2013 Sightings: June 29, 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

During our 3 p.m. trip we found Pinball deep feeding up north. She gave us some great looks right alongside the boat. We also saw a bit more bird activity including Wilson’s storm petrels and a few sooty and great shearwaters!

Pinball's dorsal fin

Look closely at Pinball’s dorsal fin. If you look closely at her left flank you’ll see a pink spot. That spot is actually a parasitic crustacean known as a cyamid, or whale louse. They crawl and attach to the whale’s body and feed on algae. Generally they may cause minor irritation to the whale, but the whales are quite used to these critters!

The 10 a.m. trip on the Asteria had to turn back due to increasing fog and rough sea-state before we could see any whales. But all passengers were issued rainchecks to try again on another New England Aquarium Whale Watch this summer!


2013 Sightings: June 28, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

This morning on the Cetacea’s 10 a.m. whale watch, we headed north towards Thacher’s Island in search of whales. Despite some haze and choppy sea conditions, we were able to spot Pinball the humpback! She was deep feeding off of a small shallow area south of Jeffrey’s Ledge.

Pinball's fluke

Pinball was feeding on fish just below the surface and had plenty of birds for company. In addition to the abundance of gulls, there were some sooty shearwaters and Wilson’s storm petrels in the mix. It was great to see all that bait on the Cetacea’s fish finder! Pinball was fluking regularly and staying at the surface long enough for passengers to get great looks at the distinct markings on the underside of her tail.

This afternoon on the Cetacea’s 2 p.m. whale watch, we headed towards the same area as this morning’s trip. Unfortunately, we encountered thick patches of fog and rough seas. Despite searching for a while in areas with better visibility, we were unable to find any whales. All passengers were issued rainchecks.

-- Christine


2013 Sightings: June 27, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Today at 10:00 a.m. on the Asteria and at 2:00 p.m. on the Cetacea we headed up north to the southern edge of Jeffrey’s Ledge. Unfortunately, on both trips all we found was extremely thick fog and some ocean sea birds. All passengers were issued rain checks.

You never know what you'll find—whether it's foggy or clear. But there's always something beautiful. Here's a photo of Boston skyline on our foggy day.

-- Alexis


2013 Sightings: June 19, 10 am and 2 pm

Today on the 10:00 am trip on the Asteria we headed north to the southern edge of Jeffrey's Ledge. We searched around to the east and then down south along the middle of the bank, but we were not able to find anything. Whales are wild animals, after all, and their behavior is not always predictable. All passengers were issued rain checks due to our lack of whales.

Another beautiful boat from our fleet, the Aurora, heads back to Boston after a successful trip.

Today on the 2:00pm trip on the Cetacea we headed back up north to the southern edge of Jeffrey's Ledge and found Satula. He was taking 2 to 4 breaths before diving back down for 5 to 8 minutes. While he was constantly changing directions and sometimes coming up half a mile away from us, we were able to get some up close encounters. All the passengers were thrilled with Satula's performance.

-- Alexis

2013 Sightings: June 19, 12 p.m.

Passengers on the Aurora had a beautiful day out on the water. We headed up to our “usual” place by Cape Ann to find male humpback Satula.

Satula taking a dive

He was taking pretty short dives (2-3 minutes) while deep feeding using some underwater bubble clouds. We got a few looks at him surfacing filtering water out of his mouth, and many great looks at his tail.

We also saw two minkes, as well as some Northern gannets. Seeing the whales feed so actively here over the past week or so gives us hope of some more whales showing up soon!



2013 Sightings: June 18, 12 pm

Today on the 12pm whale watch aboard the Aurora, we headed to Stellwagen and had wonderful looks of a slow traveling fin whale.

Mouth of the fin whale just as it surfaced

This whale was deep feeding making big half-moon turns while it surfaced, foraging after small schooling fish. The whale was also exhibiting some resting behavior— doing a bit of tail-rising as it logged at the surface.

Passengers had front row seats to see the fluke of the fin whale just breaking the surface.

This fin was exceptionally cooperative today with short dives and giving passengers great looks as it approached the boat, and even showed us a bit of its fluke! It’s quite a “fluke” occurrence to see the tail of a fin whale, their bodies are very streamlined so that they don’t need to lift their tail out of the water for propulsion when they dive deep.

A rainbow just before this afternoon's storms arrived

-- Laura


2013 Sightings: June 17, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

This afternoon on the Cetacea we headed back up north to the southern edge of Jeffrey’s Ledge and found Satula. He was only surfacing for a few short breaths before diving again, but luckily he did not surface far away from us so we were still able to get some great looks at his enormous body, dorsal fin, and fluke! Overall, it was a fun trip that concluded with lightning and hail as we arrived back in Boston.

Satula’s rostrum, or snout

On the Asteria this morning, we headed up north off the coast of Cape Ann. We searched around for quite some time but only found a few minkes that popped up for one breath and then disappeared. We continued back down south along the western edge of Stellwagen Bank but unfortunately could not find anything. All passengers were issued rain checks; however, they did get a gorgeous, sunny boat ride out on the North Atlantic.

-- Alexis


2013 Sightings: June 15, 3 p.m.

Today on the Asteria we headed to the southern tip of Jeffery’s Ledge where we found Pinball actively feeding by blowing bubbles and kick feeding. She even dove under our boat and popped up on the other side just feet from us. All the passengers on board got up close looks as she lingered at the surface and took short dives!

Pinball’s giant blowholes
As a Mysticete whale (baleen whale), she has two blowholes while an Odontocete (toothed-whale) like a killer whale only has one blowhole.

Overall, it was a beautiful day out on the water.

-- Alexis


2013 Sightings: June 14, 2 p.m.

We had a morning of rough seas this morning without any sightings. But on the Cetacea’s 2 pm trip the seas had calmed down and we headed back up to the area that the Aurora had been, where we also found Pinball.

Pinball takes a dive right alongside of us.

We saw Pinball taking short dives and filter feeding, coming up close to us on numerous occasions—one time right in-between our pulpits! Pinball seemed to be feeding on bait that was right below us as she would surface on either side of us and always make a U-turn to dive underneath the Cetacea.


2013 Sightings: June 14, 12 p.m.

Today on the Aurora’s 12 pm whale watch, we headed north toward Thatcher’s Island off Cape Ann, MA in hopes of finding some whales. We ended up spotting Pinball near the southern portion of Jeffrey’s Ledge.

Pinball makes a terminal dive: Notice her distinctly hooked dorsal fin and bright white flippers just under the surface (They appear sea foam green from all the phytoplankton in the water).

Pinball is a female humpback whale and seen around this area yesterday. Today, Pinball was mostly deep feeding, but taking short dives, approximately 3 minutes each. She spent several minutes at the surface in between dives and gave passengers great looks. They were able to see Pinball’s face as she lunged forward a couple times while surfacing!

While we were with Pinball, we also got a quick glimpse of two minke whales and notice some large splashing in the distance that looked suspiciously like tuna breaching. The weather was better than expected, and folks were quite content with sunshine and whales!

-- Christine


2013 Sightings: June 5, 10 am and 2 pm

This morning on the Asteria we headed out to the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank, where we spent time with two humpbacks, Shuffleboard and Satula. We started out getting looks at Shuffleboard, who was feeding under the surface. After a bit she decided to head a different direction and Satula decided to head in our direction, so we finished up getting some nice looks at his tail.

Shuffleboard and Venom surface feeding together

On the afternoon trip aboard the Cetacea we headed out to the same area, where the activity had heated up a little. We spent most of our time with Shuffleboard again, as well as female humpback Venom. Venom is an easily identified whale as she is missing part of her right fluke. These two whales started to feed more actively using bubble clouds, and even joined together twice two come up through the bubble cloud with open mouths! Other whales that were in the area were Satula and Boomerang.

-- Orla

See what happened on today's noon trip!

2013 Sightings: June 5, 12 pm

Today on the 12 pm trip on the Aurora, we headed out to the middle of Stellwagen Bank. We had a gorgeous day out on the water, and even though we were more than 20 miles offshore, we still had a great view of the Boston skyline.

Vemon’s fluke, which is actually missing a chunk on the right side.

We found three humpbacks all in the same area. They were changing direction a lot and taking rather long dives at about 8-12 minutes. We got some great looks at Satula to start the day off. We then moved on to Venom, who is a female that was born in 1996, who actually did a breach a long ways away from us. We then found Shuffleboard who gave us some great looks at its tail. Lastly, we ended on Venom who popped up and showed us her beautiful tail. Overall, it was a wonderful day out on the water and a good trip.

-- Alexis


2013 Sightings: June 4

Today on the Aurora we headed out to the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. We started out trying to get a look at Shuffleboard, who was taking very long dives.


Luckily, we saw a breach in the distance and headed over to two other humpback whales. Boomerang, an adult female, breached two more times as we approached her, and another adult humpback, Satula, was in the area as well.


Satula—his name means “Saddle” and refers to the unique shape left on his back after losing his dorsal fin

We got several close looks at both humpbacks, as well as two minkes, affording the passengers excellent opportunities to see the differences between not only different species of whales, but how individual humpbacks look distinct from each other as well.

-- Orla


2013 Sightings: June 3, 10 am and 2 pm

This morning on the Cetacea’s 10 am whale watch, we headed to the north end of Stellwagen bank to find a couple quick glimpses of humpbacks. Visibility was very limited by the fog, and we lost what looked like a group two or three whales. We kept looking and found the humpback whale known as Diablo traveling solo and deep feeding near the boat. Diablo has been seen several times recently; she is a female with a very dark tail and some light scarring near hear right dorsal. She surprised us all with a full breach right in front of the boat—it shocked the passengers and proved that you can still have a great show in all kinds of weather. We also had one minke whale pop up in front of the bow.

Sedge on a terminal dive

On the 2 pm whale watch on the Cetacea, we headed to the NE corner of Stellwagen bank, after looking at the location of our first trip’s sightings and discussing with the 12 pm whale watch.  The fog was gone by then, with a haze on the horizon and seas were calm. We looked for a while on the northeast corner and found nothing so we headed west to find Sedge the humpback whale deep feeding and giving the boat great looks! We also saw Sedge on the 2 pm trip yesterday, but he was closer to Thatcher’s Island. This male humpback was also seen on the noon whale watch on BHC’s Aurora today.  Folks got great close-to-boat looks at Sedge’s dorsal and fluke.

Overall, a foggy rainy Monday turned out very well.

-- Christine

2013 Sightings: June 3, 12 pm

Today on the Aurora we headed up North and found quite a bit of fog that made it very difficult to see whales. We luckily found Sedge, who is a male first seen in 1988, deep feeding and changing directions constantly.

Sedge’s abnormal dorsal fin

Sedge is easy to identify because of his abnormal hooked dorsal fin that was probably caused by entanglements. While we were watching Sedge, another whale popped up named Shuffleboard who was first seen in 2008. Both whales gave our passengers a great show.

We were all happy our rainy and dreary day turned out so pleasant!



2013 Sightings: June 2, 10 am and 2 pm

This morning on the Aurora’s 10 am whale watch, we went to the northwestern corner of Stellwagen Bank to find a deep feeding humpback whale named Hornbill. Hornbill was taking 4-8 minute dives before surfacing, but stayed up long enough to give passengers good looks.

Hornbill's fluke

We were able to get two nice looks at Hornbill’s fluke before heading home.  Hornbill is a male humpback born in 1977, one of the older known whales documented in the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog.

Sedge's hooked dorsal fin, see more pictures of his abnormal fin

On the Aurora’s 2 pm whale watch, winds picked up quite a bit, and we found a breaching humpback whale near the northwestern corner of Stellwagen Bank! We identified this whale as Sedge. Sedge is a male born in 1988 with a distinct dorsal (a deep scar in the back of the fin is visible from far away).  This scar is most likely from an entanglement in fishing gear. Sedge fully breached 8 to 10 times and there were several chin breaches as well.

It was a special treat and the most breaching I’ve seen yet this season. The last time I saw Sedge on a whale watch was off the coast of Mount Desert Island in Maine.  Maybe Sedge is working his way north!

-- Christine


2013 Sightings: June 1, 12pm and 5:30pm

Today we headed to the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. During the 12 pm trip on the Aurora we found two humpback whales, Boomerang and Mogul. Mogul was born in 1986 to Parrot and is a male. Boomerang was first seen in 1985.

Calf alongside boat

On our 5:30 pm whale watch we went back to the same location in the hopes of finding Boomerang and Mogul, but instead we found a mom and calf pair. I did not get a fluke of our mom, but I have attached a picture of her dorsal fin which I will use to identify her. The mom and calf pair circled our boat, surfacing only feet from us on all different sides. This was a great sign that our calf was showing curiosity as it explored the new world that it is now a part of. Overall, it was a great day out on the water with lots of great looks!