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Naturalists Notes
Naturalists Notes 8-7-18

August 7, 2018

9:00 AM

Today was a feeding frenzy down in the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank! Our day started out early with a pod of 50-100 Atlantic white sided dolphins just a few miles outside of Boston Harbor. The glassy seas allowed for perfect dolphin viewing, and we were able to spot a few calves amongst the adults as well. After a fun few moments, we trekked farther south in search of larger cetaceans. Upon arrival to the corner, we found several surface feeding humpback whales! Throughout the trip we observed Freckles, Tear, Gladiator, Dyad and her calf, Etch-A-Sketch, Diablo, and Dome. One noteworthy moment came from a kick feeding attempt by Etch-A-Sketch. She pumped her tail across the surface of the water as usual, and blew a small bubble cloud. Just as we were expecting to see Etch-A-Sketch come up through these bubbles, Dome lunged through, seemingly stealing the fruits of Etch-A-Sketch’s hard work, instead! Etch-A-Sketch then emerged in a sort of spyhop (or failed lunge perhaps?) with a seemingly sassy side eye and emitted a loud trumpet blow. Overall it was a fun day out on the water, and a trip I’m sure no one on board will be forgetting anytime soon!

Sincerely, Kelsey


10:00 AM

Hello all, Aboard the Asteria for our 10 am trip, we made our way for the southwest corner of the Stellwagen Bank. We arrived to see Milkweed and Etch-A-Sketch amongst many whales in the area. These two were taking fluking dives often and moving quickly throughout the area. Etch-A-Sketch started displaying her signature kick-feeding technique, which we’ve become quite familiar with this week. She even lunged a few times with her mouth open as she reaped her reward for all that hard work kicking. Our final looks were with Dyad and calf, who surfaced side by side. With the wind picking up, we made our way back to Boston.

Chelsi N.


11:00 AM

Today aboard the Aurora we headed to the SW corner of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. We arrived to find 8-10 humpbacks and 2-3 minkes – all scattered and many doing some deep subsurface bubble cloud feeding. The first whale we spent time with was male humpback Tear, named for the tear-drop marking on his fluke. We watched Tear produce several bubble clouds before moving onto humpback Gladiator, who was also doing some bubble cloud feeding but also lunging at the surface occasionally!

We then wrapped up our trip with looks of Scylla and Apostrophe, Measles, and even more feeding from Gladiator. On our way home – our captain stopped to give us a look at the Schooner Columbia – which is a replica of the original Columbia.

A great way to beat this heat!

Sincerely, Laura H.


12:00 PM

The Salacia made for a smooth ride to the southwest but stopped a bit short of Provincetown to see some whales today. We found many scattered blows in the area and so far have identified Measles, Tear, Gladiator, Scylla, Samara, and Apostrophe. Most of the whales were traveling solo but we did see at least one pair feeding together. In the bright sunlight we could spot the bright green circles at the surface which allowed us to know just where to look next. A great way to spend day with cool people!

Laura L. and Evie


2:30 PM

Hello all, For our 2:30 pm trip, we boarded the Cetacea and returned south. The wind and waves had increased significantly, but this only made us more excited. Distant massive splashes beckoned us, and we made our way over to some very surface active humpbacks. After a quick glimpse of Freckles going on a fluking dive, we spent the majority of time with Dyad and her calf. Dyad displayed feats of acrobatics as she tail breached repeatedly. Her calf followed her lead her with low baby breaches where all we could see was the splash left behind!  Both tail lobbed, the baby at times just holding its tail in the wind! This little one kept flipper slapping and rolling; the pirouettes performed revealing their pleats to us. Atlantic white sided dolphins peppered our sightings by hanging out right alongside this duo for most of our sighting. What an awe-inspiring display from mom and calf!

Chelsi N.