Log for June 4, 2015

This morning aboard the Aurora we passed two different minke whales quite a while before we even arrived on the bank! Upon our arrival, we noticed scattered whales of various species all across the area, including a duo of fin whales a few humpback whales and a minke whale!

We chose to spend our whale watch with Mostaza’s 2014 Calf who was lazily milling on the surface of the water. The (finally) beautiful sea conditions today, along with the high visibility in the water, allowed us to see this humpbacks entire body as it rested on the surface. After some time, it became a little more surface active and began doing some fluke kicks. One time it even brought its whole tail high up out of the water with a big splash (see photo)! We were lucky to have found Mostaza '14 Calf today because Captain Jeff learned from the other whale watches in the area that all the other humpbacks were making long dives while we got to watch this playful juvenile on the surface! 

Gray seal

Throughout this milling, a couple different gray seals swam through to watch us (see photo)! Overall, it was a fun and peaceful day on the water!

— Tasia


It was great to finally get out on the water after the rough weather of the past few days. This morning met us with outstanding visibility. Our captains Jim an Dave were quick to point out the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown standing clear as day on the horizon when we were still 12 miles from the edge of the bank and when we turned around to head home the top of the Prudential Center in Boston was still just visible over the horizon. 

We headed to the southwest corner and found a scattering of 5-6 humpback whales, minke whales, and two fin whales that were travelling together. We spent most of our time with a young whale which we believe was a calf just last year to a female named Mostaza. This whale surface unexpectedly off our port side and gave us some awesome views and even a big tail breach and some tail slaps. Most of the whales were taking long dives so we also got great views of the two fin whales as they travelled in a big arc through the area.

This afternoon the clouds had receded and the weather was bright if a little cold in the wind but the whales seemed to have left the southwest corner for the time. We found one whale which was taking long dives and travelling quite a distance on each dive but passed closely to the boat on several occasions to give us fantastic views. 

This whale is not yet known to us and is an unknown (#25 in fact) that was just spotted yesterday. While it’s frustrating for us naturalists to be seeing so many unknown whales this season it is also a great thing because these are young whales that have survived their first few years and now have a great chance of surviving to adulthood and potentially being the future of whale watching on Stellwagen Bank. It is hard to believe that some of our best known whales today might have shown up on Stellwagen Bank at some point and no one knew them yet either. 

There was also a friendly grey seal sighted on our trip several times, once practically on top of the whale as it swam just below the surface. An interesting interspecies interaction there!

— Tegan

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