Log for July 26, 2015

This morning Megan, Cassie, and I met rocky swells on the Southwest Corner.  The Aurora came furnished with both a weathered crew and Captain Chip, a veteran of Stellwagen Bank.  Together we found ourselves on an apparent association of four humpbacks, who were traveling in a tight formation for the south. We identified Mend, Northstar, Pele and Venom as they plowed through a barrage of waves atop mighty swells.  

Cassie, our intern with prior whale watching experience in Australia, suspected a fifth whale traveling in the association, and later in the evening we discovered Milkweed's fluke among our photos! 

We were also taken aback as the whales suddenly began traveling northward in the opposite direction, a diversion in course beyond speculation!  The quintet gradually eased their travel and one individual began flipper slapping as we made our reluctant return to the mainland.

On our 3pm venture we regained our position on the Southwest Corner with the same pelagic pack of cetaceans, whose behavior was being investigated by our comrades aboard the Miss Cape Ann.  

Venom continued to exhibit an incomplete fluke while Northstar, Mend, and Pele fluked shyly with shallow dives. As we observed these four leviathans a fifth exploded out of the Atlantic only a couple body lengths from our starboard side!  Milkweed had become the true epicenter of excitement, while her fellow nomads split off to travel in a more subdued fashion.  On our departure Cassie observed a pair of humpbacks head breaching in the distance, dutifully concluding this theater of cetacean percussion on Stellwagen Bank.

Today was a rousing introduction for many fledging whale watchers, and we ourselves may never grow weary of these encounters!

— Rich

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