2014 Sightings | April 4

Today we had an exciting day aboard the Cetacea! We started the morning heading out towards the northwest corner of Stellwagen, but on the way our captain spotted a blow west of the bank. We stuck around for a while in hopes of seeing it again and, while we saw one more blow of the whale, we weren’t able to get any looks of the individual so we moved on to the bank.

Northern gannet

Once we got to the NW corner we didn’t find much marine mammal life, but we did find various seabirds including northern gannets, black-backed gulls and razorbills in winter plumage.

Northern gannet trying to grab a flounder from a gull

We then started heading home with the looks of no whales for the trip, but right as we traveled through Nantasket roads (between Hull and Boston Light) we spotted a juvenile right whale! Passengers, crew, all of the training naturalists onboard and myself were quite excited and surprised to find this young whale so close to shore!

Right whale | Photo: naturalist Tasia

We first spotted the whale taking a dive, so we stopped the boat and stayed a safe distance away of 500+ yards as according to the right whale restriction guidelines. The whale continued to take shallow dives spending a good amount of time at the surface. From the looks of the individual, we estimated it to be about 20–30 feet in length, and it seemed to be healthy (though it did have prior entanglement scars on its fluke). Learn what the right whales are eating in Cape Cod Bay on the Right Whale Research Blog!

Right whale | Photo: naturalist Tasia

Overall quite an interesting day! As we left this whale, it appeared to be traveling safely out of the harbor (as we would want it to!). While it’s exciting to see a whale so close to shore, hopefully tomorrow it will be long gone from the harbor.

Google Earth image of the location of right whale

Here’s to the official first whale of the season!

— Laura

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