April 2, 2016

Spring time whale watching can be challenging, whether it’s the weather or the whales and the Salacia headed out towards Stellwagen Bank with hopefully only one of those challenges. Despite the pouring rain we soldiered on. After an initial look at a harbor seal in the harbor of all places we saw quite a few harbor porpoises (not in the harbor however) and at least one minke whale. 

Two whales and a dolphin

Finally after much searching we spotted the blow or spout of a larger whale and came on two fin whales that were circling and quite obviously feeding, at one point one of the animals surface with its mouth full of water much like the way we’re used to seeing humpback whales feed. These two fin whales circled surfacing predictably for some wonderful looks. Even better they were accompanied by 15-20 Atlantic white sided dolphins which would pop up a few seconds before the whales each time. Theses dolphins were great to watch and we even spotted a few tiny calves among the group. With a number of springtime species and tons of gannet sightings this morning’s whale watch was what every whale watcher dreams of.

A fin whale and a gannet

Heading out this afternoon the rain had abated a bit from the morning but the seas had picked up a little. We headed to the same area along the eastern edge of the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank where we’d had luck in the morning and this time spotted around 6-8 fin whale scattered throughout the area. These whales looked to be foraging widely, perhaps searching for patches of fish or other prey and seemed to be changing directions often. We got some excellent looks at a couple of fin early in the trip but we decided to continue to some other animals in the area. 

Northern gannets in flight

All through this area were flocks of northern gannets resting on the sea surface and in some cases even displaying their signature dive bombing behavior. We ended our trip with some excellent close looks a fin whale which turned out to be the same one we’d spotted early on in the trip just showing the distances these animals are able to travel in such short times.

Fin whale

The season is getting to a great start here on Stellwagen Bank and I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks will bring.


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