Friday marked the first of three final trips for the 2015 season with the New England Aquarium Whale Watch. Captain Dave set course for the Northern Valley of Stellwagen Bank, joined by lead naturalist Laura in our search for hearty cetaceans. After spotting many a nimbus of rorqual respirations we were entranced an emerald nebula of bubbles, created by the humpback huntress Dross. A nearby association of humpbacks Powerline and Mudskipper gave the ocean’s surface punishment with vigorous tail breaches. We recently sighted Mudskipper’s calf born last season, and can only ponder if she knows of the survival of her progeny.
Spectators aboard the Sanctuary were taken aback by the bombardier hunting tactics of diving Northern Gannets, but to peer through this avian siege would uncover the presence of humpback whales Diablo and her 2015 calf!
This pair was soon made a triumvirate with the arrival of a stranger with a T5 fluke pattern. From our stern we observed an association of two more humpback whales, and further from our bow we re-sighted the bubbleclouds of Dross and a second mysticete compatriot. We found ourselves in the midst of a cetacean symphony, a rorquestra that had a profound effect on passengers from lands far and near.
My final expedition for the season was made unique with the arrival of humpbacks I had never before witnessed, and to recognize fluke patterns amidst thousands of photographs takes year-round commitment. Our naturalists and interns further their wildlife lexicon during the winter months, studying humpback whales and other megafauna in regions such as Hawaii or Alaska. My previous experiences with Boston Harbor Cruises prompted my endeavors as an artist, and even led me to study and identify white sharks in Gansbaai, South Africa.
Whale watching is indeed a catalyst for personal exploration to crew and passengers alike. This route of ecotourism bridges the gap between human and nature, through a tangible endeavor to seek truth outside the ether of terrestrial obligations and distractions. We all have a role in the global whale watching community, and empathize with our mammalian neighbors is to live with validity.
Thank you to our family, crew, captains, passengers, and scientific community for a memorable 2015 season!