2014 Sightings | August 29

This morning on the 9am whale watch we headed out into some choppy seas towards the southern part of Stellwagen Bank. Despite the rough seas we had very good visibility and just off the western edge of the bank we spotted some blows. We approached the area and found three humpback whales.

Nile and her calf

They all seemed to be logging, just resting at the surface and occasionally making low non-fluking dives. It was pretty easy to identify Nile and her calf and while I had an inkling that the third whale was Storm, it wasn’t until the very end of the trip that this was confirmed when all three whales went down on a fluking dive.

Nile, action shot!

Nile's playful calf

Nile and calf have been consistently seen with other whales in the area over the past few days, whether just singles like Storm or larger groups (but these associations have been very loose). The pair have also been seen breaking off of the other groups to spend time resting and maybe some nursing, though I haven’t observed that behavior yet this summer. It was a great days to have a some very dramatic looks at these animals.

Pectoral flipper

On the 1:30 whale watch we headed out to the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank and luckily the seas had settled a tiny bit though we still had some big swells. Just north of the corner we found Nile and her calf for the second time today. This time however they were making much more active dives.

Mystery whale

They were then joined by a third whale which despite the fluke photograph I captured we haven’t managed to be able to identify. With this calf we saw a little bit more active behavior, some pectoral fin slapping and tail lobs. The group took a few more active dives before splitting up and Nile and calf spent some time resting at the surface. Once again it was fantastic to see these animals.



Today on board the Salacia for the 10am whale watch, we traveled out to the southern portion of Stellwagen Bank to look for whales. When we arrived at the bank we quickly found 3 humpback whales. It was Storm, Nile, and her calf.

Storm, Nile, and her calf

As we approached this group, we noticed that the calf was ducking under the surface frequently while alternating sides of Nile. Most likely the calf was nursing! All three of the whales were taking short dives, just 1-3 minutes, both fluking and non-fluking. We spent the majority of the trip with this trio. At one point, Storm turned on its side and treated all the passengers to an amazing quick look at its long pectoral flipper.

With the remainder of our trip, we traveled over to another humpback in the area, but as soon as we got close the individual took a dive. Luckily we were able to get some photos of its dorsal fin to ID it. It was Jabiru. As we were waiting for Jabiru to resurface, we spotted 2 other blows less than a half-mile away so we went to investigate. It was Pele and Eruption! We had just enough time for one look at this duo before turning back to Boston.

I hope everyone has an excellent Labor Day Weekend!

— Hannah Pittore


On our 12pm whale watch aboard the Aurora, we spent time with humpback whales Jabiru and Storm just north of the southwest corner of the bank where they were slowly traveling south back towards the corner.

Humpback whale

The southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank is rich with food and a popular spot for whales to hang out throughout the feeding season. We had beautiful looks of both whales as they swam through the water making sounding dives each time they submerged themselves.

After some time with this duo, we moved on to Nile and calf who were logging nearby. As we slowly approached the mom and her calf, they appeared to wake up and dove right beneath the boat! There were more birds in the area than we’ve generally been seeing including sooty, great, and Cory’s shearwaters in addition to a couple juvenile northern gannets!

Lazing at the surface

— Tasia

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