Log for May 2, 2015

Today started out a bit foggy and chilly, but it turned out to be a great day for whale watches! The 10 a.m. trip on the Aurora headed out into 3 ft seas but we were definitely rewarded. After traveling towards the Northwest corner for an hour and half we encountered between 3-5 sei whales feeding. They were active and surfaced multiple times. While these animals weren’t exhibiting feeding behaviors there were ripples everywhere indicating there was some bait in the area!

Sei whales

After spending some time with these whales we encountered a single humpback whale. While this whale turned out to be Sundown he/she wasn’t surfacing consistently and there was more activity in the distance so we ended up leaving. Doing so allowed us to follow a group of three humpback whales who spent the rest of the trip feeding, fluking, and changing association with each other. 

Mars fluke

These whales, who turned out to be Thumper, Mars and Zeppelin, exhibited some great open mouth feeding giving our passengers a fantastic look at their baleen. Additionally, these whales consistently surfaced close to the boat and even kick fed a few times. While we spent the majority of our time with these three there were other humpbacks, minkes and seis close by and in the distance.

Humpbacks feeding

The 2 p.m. trip started out similarly to the earlier trip though we headed out further north to help alleviate the 3 ft swell that hadn’t yet abated. Barely an hour into the trip we encountered another set of sei whales. These whales were very surface active and were consistently lunge and skim feeding and gave passengers a great look at their narrower rostrum and shorter baleen (compared to humpbacks). 

These whales slowed down after some time and we decided to move on to a single unidentified whale in the distance. This animal was a T5 (all black) but unfortunately didn’t give us a great look at his/her fluke. However, there were plenty of whales in the area and we were able to then follow a group of two who turned out to be Falcon and another unidentified whale. These two spent little time on the surface so we moved on to another single whale, Thumper from earlier, and then a group of two whales. This second group of two included Etch-a-Sketch and another unidentified humpback. 

Spunky calf

Lastly, we settled with a group of three that included a mother and calf pair. The calf was very active and rolled multiple times sticking his/her pectoral fins out of the water, kicked, and stuck its tail in the air. Unfortunately, neither mom nor the other whale with this calf fluked.

All in all, it was another wonderful, although chilly!, day out on Stellwagen.

— Annie, Rich, Sam, and Meaghan-Elizabeth

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