I am pleased to say that we had what Captain Chip called a “top three whale watch” today afternoon aboard the Aurora! It started off great with an early sighting of a small alien-like Mola mola, also known as a giant ocean sunfish. These gelatinous feeders spend most of their time floating at the surface in the sun which is, of course, how they got their name. This behavior gives us the unique opportunity to see quite a number of these bony fish (the largest in the world) at various points throughout the season!
We then moved on to Cajun, her calf and Pele who appeared to be subsurface feeding. After watching this trio for about 15 minutes, we heard a report of a humpback who was possibly entangled close by. We cruised over to the scene and observed the juvenile of concern floating vertically in the water column, it’s rostrum up out of the water while refraining from breathing for at least 12 minutes. Though we observed no gear at the surface, we considered that pot gear may have been wrapped around the peduncle and anchoring it to the ocean floor. We were incredibly relieved when the whale who turned out to be Nile’s 2014 calf slowly angled horizontally and eventually took a breath of air.
The behavior that followed was some of the most exciting marine mammal interactions I have ever experienced! Nile 14 Calf proceeded to circle the Aurora displaying a definite interest in both the boat and the passengers aboard.
He spy hopped, rolled, looked up at us and lifted his pectorals in the air. Though Captain Chip gives me a hard time for using the term “mugging”, even he admitted that we got “mugged” by Nile 14 Calf.
It was both exciting and touching to have such a special experience with the much anticipated calf that Nile was carrying throughout the 2013 feeding season, which has been coined by naturalists and scientists alike as the “summer of Nile”.
I’d love to see everyone’s footage of this very special trip. Definitely make sure to share your awesome photos and videos with us on Instagram! #Bostonharborcruises