After the stormy weather of the past few days we were excited at the prospect of actually getting out to the Bank today with the more favorable conditions. It is still very early in the season and many of the whales that spend the summer with us are still migrating back to the area and will trickle in over the next few months. Now is a time to definitely appreciate some of the animals that we don’t give as much attention during the full on humpback months.
We cruised the entirety of the northwest corner today seeing only birds – still a good sign for the weeks to come – there were mainly gulls but I did spot at least one Northern Gannet in the mix. A little ways off the bank, the life started to pick up. Initially we spotted a lone harbor porpoise.
We then graduated to two minke whales which stayed near the surface and were slow enough to allow some fantastic pictures showcasing the unique swirling chevron pigment pattern of the minke whale. Usually I don’t even type to attempt minke whale photos but today I got several good ones. In other areas researchers do use photographs of that swirly chevron pattern and the dorsal fin shape to identify individual minke whales but we don’t usually get such good looks in our waters.
We were just about to start heading home when we spotted a blow in the direction of Boston and this time it looked like a larger animal. We headed to investigate. The animal surface twice, quickly diving but we weren’t sure of the species identification. I had an inkling it might be a North Atlantic right whale and on the third surfacing it proved to be exactly that. After a few confirmation photos we headed back to Boston, elated to have had the chance to spot one of the more endangered whale species in the world, and certainly one of the most endangered and iconic species of Massachusetts Bay. It was a great first trip and hopefully a sign that great trips will follow.