Log for April 19, 2015

Our morning whale watch yesterday started out with an absolute feeding frenzy! We initially spotted 3 to 4 feeding groups along the northwest corner. The group closest to us consisted of approximately 10-13 humpback whales including the grand dame of Stellwagen Bank herself, Salt!


Additional members of this bubble net feeding group included Sprinkler, 747, Aswan, Snare, Grackle and a few unknowns. We had 1 or 2 calves in the group as well but were unable to pinpoint who their mothers were due to the chaotic nature of the feeding. Nearby Mend was spotted milling at the surface.


The feeding frenzy was short-lived as the group scattered. However, they collectively showed a deliberate movement northeast followed by the dolphins and hungry sea birds. After traveling for 15 minutes or so, a group of 4 humpbacks stopped to participate in a few rounds of bubble netting. We watched Aswan, Blackbird, Sprinkler and a sneaky 4th whale feed while a number of fin whales perused the area. All the while, dolphins interacted with the boat and took advantage of the efforts of the Humpback Whales.

Baleen and seabirds

As we turned for home, we saw a couple of feeding groups in the distance and recognized Zeppelin and Patchwork. Before leaving, we even had a quick minke whale encounter!

This afternoon, the feeding appeared to slow down, but it's possible that feeding was still occurring but lower in the water column. We first came across Sprinkler and 747 who were repeatedly diving beneath the boat. As captain Chip noted yesterday, we really don't know if their close approaches were due to a fascination with the boat or sand lance beneath us, but they consistently surfaced within about 20 yards of our boat for about 25 minutes.

Sprinkler open-mouth feeding

After some time a solo calf swam into the area, after which sprinkler must have slipped away and was not seen again. Although we did not observe 747 and this calf exhibiting behavior typical of a strong mother calf bond, there were no other obvious humpbacks nearby that could have been a potential mother to this calf. We will keep an eye out for this young whale in the coming days to make a positive determination as to whose calf this is.

Unknown fluke

We then moved on to a group of five humpbacks, Falcon, Persied, Snare, Mend and Canopy, which were making approximately 6 minute synchronized dives. We suspected that this group may have been in search of, or feeding on, bait lower in the water column.

Minke whales also made a strong showing in this afternoon, a number of which came unusually close to the boat giving the passengers beautiful looks of these often elusive whales. Our bird sightings yesterday included hundreds of diving gannets, herring gulls, laughing gulls, common cormorants, eiders, white-winged scoters and a pair of razorbills. We had a fantastic Sunday on the water!

— Tasia Blough

1 comment:

  1. Hey!
    I was at the 02:00 pm tour, i was wondering if you had some pictures form this tour as well?
    i would be interested. specially the synchronized dive!
    let me know,