Whale Watch Log: May 28, 2016

Today on the Sanctuary with naturalist Annie and Captain Adam we headed south in the direction of Provincetown following our sister ship the Asteria. We came across a fin whale that surfaced about a half mile just off our bow! When we slowed and waited for this individual to come back, a second fin popped up some distance away as well, making for two within about three quarters of a mile of one another.  

We were able to get some lovely looks at both of these individuals before continuing south to the tip of Cape Cod where we picked up a single juvenile humpback whale.  This individual was very unpredictable with its surfacings, coming up in all directions and at various distances away.  At one point we were within about a half mile of the beach, and the whale on the edge of 100 feet and 30 feet of water.  Our passengers got to spend some time on Cape Cod without even having to deal with the traffic!  

We got some great looks at this young humpback, which showed signs of a recent entanglement and was also quite possibly the same individual that was recently disentangled by the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team. Watch a video from a GoPro of the team at work!  Keep in mind that this team is comprised of highly trained individuals and work under special government permits to help these animals. If you ever come across a marine animal in distress, the best thing to do is to report it to the local authorities so that the proper people can come out and help.  Out in Stellwagen, the best way to do that is to contact the MAER’s hotline at 1-800-900-3622, or radio the coastguard on VHF channel 16.

Beautiful sunset over Boston

We came back into Boston with a beautiful sunset behind the city!

— Heidi and Annie


The first evening whale watch of the 2016 season was made a reality by the efforts of Captain Jim and the Cetacea pack.  9 miles northwest of Provincetown we were elated to witness a towering spout punctuate the blue uniformity , proudly catching the evening sun like a flag unfurled.  It’s creator bears the charming moniker 16BP08, but the familiarity of the name was in contrast to the unpredictable nature of its bearer.  Between dives of 6-9 minutes this whale would resurface heading northwest, northeast, southwest, north, and south!

This solitary forager mingled neither with the minke who passed just off our bow or with a distant fin whale further south.  The rorqual sought not the company of a bipedal third species atop the surface, but it nonetheless displayed the enormity of its flanks with each graceful dive.  

Blow holes

The travel patterns of this character seemed to delineate the western ledge of Stellwagen Bank, but before we could further hypothesize on subsurface motives the animal dove west without any further sighting.  The thrill of finding oneself in the company of giants is inexhaustible, and we hope for many similar experiences to come!

— Rich

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