Log for June 11, 2015

On our first trip aboard the Cetacea this morning, we spent some time with a whale that, over the past month and a half has been recovering from entanglement. Disentangled by the Center for Coastal Studies disentanglement team on April 26, this whale appears to be stronger and healthier than it had when we first saw it post-entanglement. 

When released by the team, the whale was reportedly very thin and had multiple wounds. Over the past month or so it has been feeding and learning alongside some of the oldest and most experienced female humpbacks around. It is encouraging to see this whale now with quickly healing wounds and a little more meat on it (see photo). If you’d like to read more about the disentanglement, click here.

Nearby, Pitcher and music followed close behind a fishing vessel that Captain Jim and Dave surmised was long line fishing, possibly for herring or mackerel. For the 20 minutes we observed them, this duo traveled close behind the vessel with dozens of birds hovering about (see photo). We considered the possibility that these humpbacks may have been pursuing the same fish as the fisherman. Considering that humans share these ocean resources with whales, it definitely would not have been the first time these land and marine mammals were after the same catch. Luckily long-line fishing is less of a threat to marine mammals than pot fisheries but, after seeing the previously entangled whale, we couldn’t help but worry a little bit about Pitcher and Music.

On our way back to Boston, we stopped for a quick look at Spoon and her calf who have remained in the area over the past few weeks.

On our 2pm whale watch, we went back to the same area but saw none of the same whales! Instead we spent some time with Mostaza’s 2014 calf, Wizard’s 2014 calf, Nile and Ouija! Mostaza’s little guy was exhibiting the same tail slapping behavior I’ve seen it perform in the past, spontaneous quick and shallow tail slaps. Meanwhile, Nile, Wizard’s 2014 calf and another unknown appeared to be subsurface feeding. Ouija also spent some solo time in the area.

We saw a lot more diversity in bird species than we have previously today! In addition to our regular birds (herring gulls, northern gannets, cormorants and terns), we saw Cory’s, sooty and possibly some great shearwaters. We are definitely glad to see these beautiful birds back in the area!

— Tasia


The whales were once again feeling lazy on the Southwest Corner. The wind and waves have increased a little of the past day but the scattered whales in the area were just traveling randomly and resting just below or at the surface.

A close pass by the boat
We spent the majority of our trip with Spoon and her calf though we also watched a few other resting whales. The calf was feeling a little more active and we had one big breach and a few flipper slaps but mostly just rolling and a few close passes to the boat by this little whale. 

The whale's white flippers are easy to spot through the waves

— Tegan


On today’s 12pm whale watch about the Aurora, we headed to the SW corner. Our first pair we spent time with were two younger whales, Ouija and Clamp 2012 calf. While we observed these two, we also spotted some sooty shearwaters – it’s good to see them out here again! This pair began to rest, so we decided to move onto a new pair in the distance. 

This duo turned out to be Spoon and her 2015 calf. This pair seemed to be a bit less sleepy than they were yesterday, and her calf today was a bit playful at the surface! This plump calf was rolling at the surface and showing off its fluke a bit while mom went down on a dive. Spoon’s calf even decided to give us a visit by swimming under our boat!

After this little bout of activity, the calf rejoined mom, and the pair began to rest again at the surface. More sleepy whale time!

— Laura Howes

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