Log for June 8, 2015

We had an awesome trip this morning on the Asteria! Our first sighting was of a juvenile whale (Unknown 16). This smaller whale was travelling around randomly in the area, popping up for a breath or two every now and again. Eventually another larger humpback whale who we haven’t identified yet joined this juvenile. 

Suddenly another whale came into the mix and chin-slapped the surface with force and then breached into the wind right next to the boat! An electric shock was suddenly jolted into our whale watch! For the rest of the trip, we watched this whale lobtail repeatedly and flipper slap! 

Something especially unique about this whale was that the dorsal side of its pectoral flippers were black! Most of the whales in the North Atlantic have completely white flippers. Many of the whales in the North Pacific population, like the whales I’ve had the pleasure of watching in Maui, have counter-shaded flippers like this one. Another fun feature of this particular whale was that on the left side of the tail there is a unique marking that looks like a chain of islands. Either I have Hawaii on the brain, or this whale is destined to have a Hawaiian name!

— Annie


What a day we had out on the Cetacea! Our morning whale watch started off strong with lots of splashes in the distance, a sure sign of active whales! After a brief fin whale sighting, we followed the splashes to a duo of humpbacks, both of which I had never seen before. These surface active whales were Music and Vault. 

Music spent the entire trip flipper slapping and elicited lots of oohs and ahhs from our guest. She even breached right next to the boat! Music is a prime example of how and why humpbacks in the Gulf of Maine are named. Take a look at this perfect music note right in place on her right fluke (see photo). These marks are not natural but rather scars left from an orca attack, likely within the first year of her life.

Look at the white scratches along the bottom edge

This morning we also spotted Spoon, her calf along with Flamingo’s 2014 calf.

By the afternoon, the wind and sea conditions had elevated, making for a bumpy ride. Captain Bill, along with our crew and guests powered through the waves back to the southwest corner where we found about 10 to 15 humpbacks! Though there were a good number of whales, their long dives in conjunction with the sea conditions made it tricky to track these animals. Luckily, Captain Bill worked his magic and safely brought us to a few different groups. These whales, which likely were subsurface feeding, included unknowns 3, 17 and 25. Vault Music and Mostaza’s 2014 calf were also in the mix this afternoon!

High flipper!

Overall, we had a great day on the water, but we are definitely crossing our fingers for the seas to calm once again.

— Tasia

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