Log for April 24, 2015

This morning started off with an early appearance of two humpback whales, one of which was Platform, in an area west of the bank known as the dumping grounds. After a few long dives, our eyes were drawn to the three large blows of a group of fin whales in the distance. One of these fin whales was quite small and may have been a calf or juvenile.

A finback covered in diatoms
 We then moved on to another group of three very active fin whales which converged directly in front of the boat as dolphins weaved in and out of these enormous whales (see photos).

Dolphin and fin whale
We had beautiful views of their asymmetrical white jaws and unique chevron patterns (see photos). You can even see that one of them had microscopic algae known as diatoms growing along the length of its body giving it an iridescent brownish/green mottling. 

A fin whale right jaw
Among the associated dolphins, we saw a tiny calf with its mother!
A dolphin mom and calf

Nearby a couple humpbacks, one of them we IDed as Tornado, were kick feeding! We had a few quick looks of this incredibly exciting behavior before heading back to Boston. Along the way home we also spotted a minke whale surfacing very close to the boat!

For bird sightings today, we saw surf scoters, black scoters, eiders, double-crested cormorants, northern gannets and various gull species. It was definitely another exciting day on Stellwagen Bank!

— Tasia Blough

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