2014 Sightings | July 29

Today was a whale of a day out on Stellwagen Bank. Both our 9:00 and 1:30 trips on the Aurora got to spend some quality quiet time with our old friend, Northstar and Hippocampus. Old is relative, seeing as these two whales were first spotted within the last ten years and we believe that humpback whales could have very long lifespans – up to 100 years perhaps!

Hippocampus's fluke

Both whales were taking fluking dives and spent about five minutes under water. Their dives lasted a little longer when we saw them in the afternoon—they were quite possibly feeding deeper in the water column! We name humpback whales for the patterns on their tails and sometimes it can be very easy to see why a whale got its name and sometimes, like Hippocampus, it can be really hard. Hippocampus is a part of the brain but it is also the genus for the seahorses. If you look closely at the bottom right of Hippocampus’ fluke you might because to see a black mark that looks a little like a seahorse. A stretch? Maybe but naming whales is tricky business and with some many whales named already we have to get more and more creative.

Hippocampus dorsal fin

All in all it was lovely to see that these two individuals have spent so much time together recently.

— Tegan & Grace


Today on board the Asteria we travelled to the Northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank! After a bit of searching we happened upon two familiar humpbacks. It turned out to be Northstar and Hippocampus.

Northstar's fluke

Throughout the trip, they surfaced together, however on a few occasions they surfaced separately. They were taking 5-8 minute dives today. Towards the end of  the trip, Hippocampus started making bubble rings.

Northstar's injury

Unfortunately Northstar’s injury is still pretty prevalent. Some of the kids on board were very interested in this injury. One younger passenger in particular thought it would be a good idea if his dad got jets for their boat instead of propellers! Overall it was a beautiful sunny day out on the water!

—Annie G.


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