Log for March 31, 10 am

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.



Welcome to the 2015 whale watch season!

The new season of New England Aquarium Whale Watches is underway with our partners over at Boston Harbor Cruises. And while spring is working hard on land, Stellwagen Bank is already looking springy with whales feeding and fluking in this rich marine habitat. Be among the first to welcome back the whales! Head over to Boston Harbor Cruises' website and buy your tickets online.

A close encounter of the cetacean kind

We'll get to those whales soon enough. But first, some introductions. The knowledgable naturalists who will be on the boats and documenting sightings in the Whale Watch Log are:

  • Laura Howes
  • Tegan Mortimer
  • Tasia Blough
  • Annie Wolf
  • Hannah Pittore
  • Annie Goodenough
  • Laura Cupicha
  • Heidi Hansen

And the comfy fleet of vessels whisking passengers out to the feeding grounds include Aurora, Asteria, Cetacea and Salacia—plus one more coming later this summer!

One of the fleet of Boston Harbor Cruises boats

It's an exciting time now with whale trickling back and so much promise ahead for a beautiful season on the water. Join us! Follow along here on the Whale Watch Log and be sure to buy tickets to experience a New England Aquarium Whale Watch first hand.

Feeding frenzy for the flippered and feathered