We had a whale watch of a lifetime Monday afternoon. It started off quickly on the southwest corner of the bank where dozens of whales were scattered about. We first spent some time watching Owl, her calf and an unknown who initially caught our eye breaching together in the distance. We then observed a large group of humpbacks including Mend, Storm, Bolide, her calf and a few others.
|Wait, who's watching who?|
Guests were thrilled with the activity we had seen up until that point, but little did we know that we were in for a whole lot more action! As the large group left, we realized that two young members chose to stay behind to check us out. The larger of the two was one of last year’s calves born to Flamingo, likely only a year and half old. The smaller of the two, whom we were unable to ID, may have been older or younger than Flamingo’s ‘14 calf seeing as this second year juvenile was quite a big girl already.
|Belly up: Barnacles and pleats|
These juveniles were completely fixated on us and watched us watching them for over an hour after Captain Bill took the boat out of gear. You could definitely say it was another mugging, but this time was different. They rolled and rolled about, lying on their sides looking directly up at us with a single eye. Their behavior led me to believe that they could actually see us better when they were laying belly up.
|Can't get any closer than this close encounter|
Flamingo’s 14 calf, who was the obvious ring leader, spent a lot of time on her back looking up at us. This allowed us to easily see her hemispherical lobe, indicating to us that she is female. The smaller humpback did less rolling and more partial spy hopping, but never gave us a good look at its fluke.
|Close enough to touch|
After I realized that we were stuck where we were on account of these animals being so close to us, literally rubbing up against the boat, I joined the guests on the first deck. I try my best not to anthropomorphize these whales, but I am confident that as I looked out over the railing at Flamingo’s 2014 calf, she was looking right back at me. At one point, she rolled and lifted her pectoral right out in front of me and I literally could have reached out and held her flipper in my hand (which I of course did not do because it is against the Marine Mammal Protection Act). This is an experience that most of our guests had yesterday and an experience I know I will never forget.
|Oh yeah, and we saw a shark. A shark!|
I almost forgot to mention that we also saw an enormous feeding basking shark on our way home (see photos)!
The funniest thing about today was that, as we left the dock, I told everyone that this was going to be the best whale watch ever and it sure was!
I am hoping to have videos from this whale watch posted on the Boston Harbor Cruises website and/or Facebook page within the coming weeks so keep an eye out for them!
— Tasia Blough