2014 Sightings | July 8

This morning on board the Cetacea we were excited to find whales relatively close to home. We were headed out to the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank when, just 15 miles from Boston, we had our first of many sightings!

Shard's fluke

We made our way slowly into the area and literally every direction we looked there were blows. Throughout the trip we saw about 30 humpback whales! After the trip we were able to ID Shards, Sockeye, Aswan, Trigger, Springboard, and Centipede! We started off with Shards who was repeatedly tail slapping for quite some time.

Open-mouth feeding

We also watched a few groups of associated humpbacks doing some exciting open mouth feeding. About a mile in the distance there was even a pair of adult humpbacks breaching over and over. It was as though they were having a breaching contest.

Spyhopping right next to the boat
Oh, hello there

The most exciting part of the trip was when three very curious humpback whales came over to inspect the boat. They did a bit of spyhopping off our stern. These three associated individuals were doing some strange, almost loopy behaviors as they logged lazily along our port side. One individual who turned out to be Springboard, kept rolling around at the surface. I was even able to get a few good sex-shots to confirm that she is indeed a female. Check out that hemispherical lobe in the photo below.

It's a girl!

The amazing part of this encounter was that this group just wouldn’t leave the side of our boat. We watched them continuously for 40 minutes and they remained with us until it was time to head back to Boston. It was truly a spectacular trip to have such close encounters with such amazing humpback whales!

We headed to about the same area for the 1:30 trip this afternoon. We saw lots of activity once again, however instead of large groups of associated whales, most of what we saw was many solitary humpbacks feeding in close proximity of each other. Each of the individuals that we encountered was kick feeding! While there was an awful lot of activity in the area, we spent most of our time nearby a few individual humpbacks. Some of the ones we were able to ID are named Habenero, Wyoming and Rapier’s 2009 calf.


There was also a mother calf pair that came into our immediate area towards the end of the trip. The passengers were excited to see the calf, but they were even more excited when it decided to breach.

— Annie G.



Today on board the Asteria we were treated to a special surprise! After only 45 minutes of traveling we began to spot blow after blow of whale breath. Within minutes of our first sightings we were immersed in what we estimated to be around 25 to 30 different humpback whales.

Open-mouth feeding

Since the whales were so close to Boston we had over an hour to explore this abundance of animals. We began by watch two feeding whales identified as Shards and Tilt. They treated us to some great bubble nets and powerful lunge feeding. Following these great sighting we caught a glimpse of some exciting breach action about a half-mile from our boat. As we wandered throughout the hoards of humpbacks we were able to identify five more whales: Tunguska, Duckpin, Cloud, Touche and Carbon.

Unknown fluke
Another unknown fluke

In addition, we saw two unknown flukes-a T5 and a T3-of whom we could not find a match to in our fluke catalog. It was very exciting to see so many whales so close to Boston, as lately we had only been seeing about 4 different individuals over and over again. Maybe this means that the whales are back in town!

— Tegan & Haylee

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