Whale Watch Log: May 11, 2016

Today on the Asteria we had a beautiful day offshore! The calm seas and sunny skies gave us incredible visibility, and we spotted several harbor porpoise, common loons, and gannets on our way out to Stellwagen Bank. We had to travel quite far today – east of the southeast corner, but it was well worth the travel! 

Bayou's mangled tail

Our first sightings of humpbacks were the splashes of three whales BREACHING in the distance! As we approached they slowed down and began to travel (amidst some logging humpbacks), and I identified this trio as Bayou, Glo-Stick, and Osprey. Bayou is very notable from her unfortunate propeller wound, missing half her fluke (see photo). Glo-Stick is also a reminder of the problem of ship strike for whales – her grandmother Istar was found dead a few years ago due to a likely ship strike off the coast of Long Island.

Underwater visitor
After spending time with this trio, we moved on to some other humpbacks, Basin and an unknown humpback that swam near our boat briefly. This mystery humpback that briefly joined Basin never actually exhaled and the surface, but hung just below the water near our boat (see photo).

Tracer kick feeding

Wyoming kick feeding

The spectacular finale to our trip today was two kick feeding humpbacks, Wyoming and Tracer. After a period of quiet calm seas, it was exciting to see these whales do some high tail thrashing, and then join briefly to form a huge bubble net and come open mouth lunge feeding at the surface (see photo).

Enormous bubble net
Filter feeding at the surface

Another great day on the bank!

— Laura

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