2013 Sightings | August 27

We started out heading south and worked our way down the western edge. We found two ocean sunfish, or Mola mola, within a couple miles of one another. The second sunfish was actually moving around and looking at passengers. After observing it for several minutes, the Mola mola breached!

Photo: Doug DellaPorta, Cetacea crew member

Photo: Doug DellaPorta, Cetacea crew member

On another trip we headed north where we were able to spot a large school of bluefin tuna chasing after small bait fish, which we observed for a few minutes. Unfortunately, we encountered some fog and bad luck during some trips today and there were no whales to be found. Since all passengers are guaranteed to see whales, they were issued rain checks to return again another day to try to spot whales.

You'll find Mola mola all over the Aquarium's blogs, and beyond!


2013 Sightings | August 22

This morning on board the Asteria we headed out along the shipping lanes with a plan to head north once we got to the edge of the bank. It was grey skies but we still had decent visibility. Not that far on to the bank we came across, or rather is came across us, a large minke whale which circled us for a while giving the passengers some great looks.


Everyone was very excited after this first look that when we left in search of some larger whales they were ecstatic when we did find a humpback whale! We found Doric, a 12 year old born in 2001, doing some feeding. This whale was staying down long, around 5 minutes but would surface near us and spend enough time on the water to really get a sense of how big this animal actually is. With the lighting and the close surfacings I was able to get some great shots including the attached photo of the scars on Doric’s right side. You can see the dimple like scar which may be from a sat tag as well as that long scar just above it. Doric also has a scar on its tail just where the fluke meets the tail stock which could be from an entanglement. It was a great day out on the water with some different whales.


2013 Sightings | August 21

This morning aboard the Aurora we headed to mid-bank to find a few scattered humpback whales. We first stopped for a brief look at basking shark, then moved onto Scylla. Scylla at first made some tail breaches in the distance, and then began logging as we approached her.

Pinball fluking in flat calm seas

We decided to move onto to Pinball, who was deep feeding and traveling taking consistent dives. On our last few looks she began to slow down, and fluke several times/tail flicked before we left. Very calm seas again today!


2013 Sightings | August 20

Pinball was only taking 6 minute dives and staying at the surface for quite a while, today. She often just barely brought her tail out of the water and then popped right back up at the surface so passengers got to see her tail over and over again. 


When she finally did go down on a dive, she brought her tail really far out of the water and slowly sank down. After some close looks at her on both sides of our boat, we headed back to Boston.


2013 Sightings | August 18

In the middle of the bank, we found Mogul flipper slapping in the distance. As we got closer Mogul began to deep feeding with short dives, and then right before we began to head home, he surprised us again with his flipper slapping (some of it belly-up) and a few breaches! He also did two lob-tail breaches across our bow. 

Mogul acrobatics


Nile snapping as she lunges at the surface

That evening, we headed back to the same area, but this time found Nile and Pinball feeding in the same area, but not associated. Pinball approached us closely once, and then began to move out of the area, so we stayed with Nile. Nile was first observed subsurface bubble feeding – but the prey must have moved up to the surface a bit more because she then began doing a few high filters/vertical lunges near the end our trip! 

Our sunset was pretty overcast, but the sky ended up turning out
very nicely as we headed home.


2013 Sightings | August 16

Fantastic day of BREACHING! We headed out towards Stellwagen this morning and first found a solitary humpback taking a long dive. We then saw some splashing in the distance, so we headed over to watch Mogul repeatedly flipper breaching (half breaches) and flipper slapping. 


It’s always a treat when we see a breach, but when we have days of predictable repeated breaches, it’s a 1 out of 100 trip day! Mogul would fluke and then breach, over and over. He then would alternate with flipper slapping. We even got a huge breach right next to us. In total we must of seen about 15 to 20 breaches. After all of this activity, he began to deep feed, and we left Mogul to head home.

Great day! Here are some more pictures of Mogul's acrobatics.

Learn more and buy tickets for a New England Aquarium Whale Watch with our partners at Boston Harbor Cruises! Check out their handy app on Facebook that can help you plan your trip, too. 


2013 Sightings | August 11

We found lots of activity toward the south of the bank today. First, we spent some time with Pinball. She was doing 3 minute dives. We saw evidence of some bubble feeding and even witnessed a little kick-feeding. She was fluking with every dive as well.

Nile's full body breach

Next we moved ahead to some blows we saw in the distance. We found a finback, but as soon as we stopped the boat, it took a dive and was gone for a while. So we moved ahead to another blow and found Nile. As soon as we reached her, she surprised us with 5 consecutive breaches!!! First a tail breach, then a full body breach, then 3 head breaches! It was amazing!
Nile head breach

Our boats also located two fin whales and two humpback whales during another trip this morning. We got some close looks at our newcomer, Scylla, a female born in 1981 to Istar. Scylla was doing some great bubble feeding and was travelling pretty fast. 


The fin whales were hanging around and while we didn’t get many close looks, we got to see the enormous clouds these animals create when they come up to breathe, nearly 15-20 feet into the air. The water was very calm, which made it easy to spot all the activity.
Gulls fly low over the water

Later this evening we headed south again. We started our trip with two elusive finback whales. Just as we got close enough to view them, they ducked below the surface. So then we moved on to a spot where there were reports of Nile and Pinball. We found them just in the distance, and it looked like they were logging or resting. 

Nile flipper slapping alongside Pinball

After viewing these two humpbacks at the surface for a little while, they awoke and started some surface activity. Nile was showing off with some flipper slapping while Pinball treated us to some kicks. It was great it see this surface activity with a gorgeous sunset backdrop.



2013 Sightings | August 5

We found FOUR humpback whales in the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank today. Pinball and Nile were moving around quite a bit in the same area as a pair of whales named Geometry and Etch-A-Sketch. The dynamic duo was bubble feeding and coming up to the surface with enlarged throats. Their heads came quite a ways out of the water, giving passengers some incredible looks at their pleats!

A surprise close encounter with our pair Geometry and Etch-A-Sketch as they swam at our boat and dove under us

Geometry is a male born in 1997 to a whale named Star, and Etch-A-Sketch is a female born in 1998 to a whale named Thalassa.

Since the whales were all changing directions and moving around, we were able to get great looks at all four and have whales on both sides of our boat at once! It was a very exciting and busy day out on the North Atlantic—spectacular weather with blue, sunny skies and lots of whales.


2013 Season | August 4

Our friendly humpback Nile was doing short 1–4 minute dives this morning. Then passengers and crew were all very surprised when Nile leaped out of the water with a full body breach!! A passenger on board was very nice to share these stunning photos. Everyone on board loved seeing Nile’s acrobatic surface activity. We also spotted a minke whale in the area. 

We caught up with Nile again in the afternoon. She was changing direction a lot and doing short dives of about 2–4 minutes. Passengers were even treated to a couple large whiffs of ‘snarge’ or whale breath. The exhalation smells very fishy.