March 30, 2016

I’m delighted to share that we had our first humpback sightings of the season today! We headed out this morning in wonderful sunny sea conditions aboard the Salacia to the NW corner of Stellwagen. Before we even got to the corner, we spotted several scattered blows in many directions, much to our delight and excitement!

Batcave's dorsal fin

Our first tall blow turned out to be a fin whale, and as it surfaced briefly we then spotted a blow of a humpback whale a few hundred yards past it – giving us two species in one look! After our first few days of bad weather and sparse seas, all of us in the pilot house were thrilled to finally get some good looks of whales! 

Ursa diving

If that wasn’t enough, we then spotted a pair of humpbacks – one of which I identified as Ursa, a female with a distinguishable tail marked by many orca rake marks (i.e. bite marks from orca whales when she was a calf). We stayed with this pair the rest of the trip, and later identified her companion as Batcave, who has an all-black fluke. This pair was on the move taking long dives, probably eagerly on the search for food after their winter of fasting.

Ursa dorsal fin

It total we spotted about 3-5 humpbacks, 1-2 fin whales, and also a brief minke appearance making it a three species day, in addition to Northern Gannets and gulls.

Cheers to the whales being back!

— Laura 

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