Naturalists Notes 8-1-18
August 1, 2018
Today we enjoyed a fantastic morning out on thus water! We made our way to an area near the middle of Stellwagen Bank, and enjoyed exciting surface activity by three humpback whales. Our first whale was Calderas's 2016 Calf, first spotted by our intern Charlie. This active two year old continuously tail breached and tail lobbed while we watched in awe. After noticing another splash in the distance, we made our way over to find Jabiru and her calf! Jabiru treated us to amazing full breaches and flipper slaps while the calf rolled and tail breached at the surface. After a short while, the calf began to nurse and we made our way back to Boston still filled with excitement after our time with these incredible animals.
The gray weather might have fostered a mellow mood but Jabiru’s calf must have missed the memo. As we approached we witnessed a breach from the young whale who then proceeded to tail breach and roll while mom raised her own flippers sporadically. Jabiru often takes characteristically high fluking dives however today we caught one glimpse at her pretty tail, not a surprise with her seemingly taking a (semi) deep snooze.
On our ride back home we stopped to watch the 2016 calf of Calderas. By the end of our time with him/her I was wishing I had timed the spacing between the series of tail breaches, as I estimate each one was a fairly consistent 30-45 seconds apart. Eventually it was time to head back to the city after an exciting afternoon!
Laura L., Emma, and Caroline
Today we boarded the Aurora and headed out towards the middle of Stellwagen Bank. We were immediately greeted by a breach from Jabiru’s calf! This youngster continued his antics and breached a few more times. Jabiru was mostly absent at first, however the commotion by her calf seemed to eventually get her attention. The calf calmed down considerably as Jabiru began lazily swimming close to the boat. The calf most likely began nursing as he dove under his moms tail, time and time again. This duo stayed close to the surface of the water for quite some time, and we were really able to appreciate the size difference between mom and baby. Nursing time came to an abrupt end, however, when Jabiru suddenly breached! The calf started his high energy behavior as well, and we were able to witness a multitude of surface activity. There was tail lobbing, flipper slapping, chin breaches and full spinning breaches. We immensely enjoyed watching this youngster, but got distracted after the calf breached and landed on a floppy fin at the surface of the water. A mola mola had gotten in the middle of all this whale activity! We were able to get some great looks at this sunfish before eventually making our way back to Boston.
On this afternoon's trip we set out to explore the northwest corner before making our way down to some deeper water near the southwest corner. It was in the south that we found another mother and calf humpback whale pair, this time being Venom and her little one! Sporadic bubble clouds alerted us to Venom's mostly subsurface feeding, although she treated us to one powerful surface lunge that sent water flying! Her calf then briefly rolled and spyhopped at the surface, much to the delight of passengers. As we pulled away from this pair, we got one last look at a nearby fin whale before making our way back to Boston.