Out of the haze we spotted the Cetacea, which was watching two humpback whales. This pair turned out to be Northstar and Hippocampus. These whales were consistently taking 4 and a half minute dives, giving passengers great looks at their flukes and of Northstar’s injured dorsal.
|Northstar's fin on the mend|
While these whales were taking synchronized dives, they sometimes surfaced apart from one another, but continually rejoined as a pair. We still do not fully understand the social behaviors of these whales and their seemingly fluid associations. Northstar and Hippocampus have been traveling and feeding together since last Thursday and are an example of the longer term associations we do commonly see here on the feeding ground.
As an added bonus for the day the very pretty sailing vessel the Lady Maryland passed us in the mist while we watched our pair of whales.
It turned out to be a phenomenal day to be out on the water!
— Tegan, Kira and Kirsten
On today’s 12pm whale watch aboard the Aurora, our Captain Chip led us to the NW corner of Stellwagen in search of whales. Despite the many whitecaps – we were able to spot the blows of several whales today!
|Note the chevron pattern on this fin whale|
We first found a pair of traveling fin whales, and observed their two different chevron patterns on their right side. They also varied in length – the whale trailing behind the first fin whale was quite large! These markings are used to identify unique individuals in the population, as part of the North Atlantic Fin Whale Catalog held up in Allied Whale in Bar Harbor, Maine.
|Northstar's dorsal injury continues to heal|
We then moved on to find two adult humpbacks – Northstar and Hippocampus, who were traveling slowly though the area. We observed Northstar’s dorsal injury – it is great to be able to keep seeing this male humpback in order to track the progression of how this wound is healing. We send photos of any whales that are injured or appear unhealthy to the Center for Coastal Studies, based in Provincetown, Mass.
|Ready for their close-up|
On our last looks of this pair, these two approached our boat to give us an up-close and personal look! We also spotted a Minke whale, making it a three species day!