Naturalists Notes 8-8-18
August 8, 2018
Greetings Whale Town, The M/V Cetacea initiated the first phase of whale watching upon the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank, and 38 miles from port we happened upon 50-100 Atlantic White-Sided dolphins. These creatures were seen dispersing out of range of photography’s scope, but we did continue for the western edge where Pitcher and 16BH200 loomed. Both creatures fed within a square mile range but seemed autonomous from one another.
These shepherds of the sea herded their fish meals amidst a ranch of bubbleclouds, perhaps engulfing shoals of prey out of sight of humanity. Pitcher eventually sauntered in a state of slumber, but the predatory combustion of 16BH200 could not be quelled between 2-4 minute dives. Eventually Diablo did encroach but for a fleeting pass upon her western heading, and we followed suit before heading for our more terrestrial destination.
Periscope Down, Rich W D
Today was a fun day spent in the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank! This morning our sightings started off with a humpback whale, Etch-A-Sketch, who was kick feeding. We enjoyed several great looks at her, including a few impressive surface lunges. After a short while, we moved on to a nearby humpback whale pair, identified as Dyad and her calf. These two were mostly logging, and the calm water gave us great visibility and a rare look at the whales’ entire lengths as they were just subsurface. Soon enough, Etch-A-Sketch and another kick feeding humpback whale, Samara, came over in our direction. Our last looks were of these two whales continuing this thrilling feeding behavior nearby.
On the 11am aboard the Asteria, we traveled to the SW corner of Stellwagen Bank in flat hazy seas. Once we arrived, we found 11-14 scattered humpbacks, a few doing kick feeding and many doing subsurface bubble cloud feeding. The first humpback we spent time with was an unknown from a previous season, who consistently made large bubble clouds. We also spotted Gladiator nearby. As we moved about seeing whales in all directions, some distant splashing caught our eye – we saw a small whale breaching followed by a large flipper slap from an adult, indicating a mom and calf pair. As we got closer we were treated to one more breach by the calf, and then the whales promptly started logging after all that activity.
We kept moving towards some more splashing, which turned out to be humpback Timberline kick feeding! Timberline would make three consistent kicks before going on a dive, and on one surfacing this was followed by a huge lunge at the surface! Always my favorite behavior to see, as you can really appreciate the power of the animal. When we left Timberline, Dyad and her calf drifted by him. I think Dyad tried to mooch from Timberline, but he was not having it, as they quickly parted ways after their brief join (and the sleepy calf woke up after this short spat!)
On our way home, we spotted 3 minke whales, giving us a chance to see a second species.
Sincerely, Laura Howes
Hello all, We headed to the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank today in search of marine life. Once we got to our destination, we were not disappointed to find calm seas and 10-12 scattered blows. The first pair, a mom and calf, were slowly swimming about and we were able to enjoy some great views of Dyad and her calf. The calf lazily floated at the surface while mom went on deeper dives, perhaps in search of food. There was a whale nearby continuously kick feeding and Dyad headed over in this whale’s direction. This kick feeding whale turned out to be Timberline, who would lounge feed among bouts of tail slapping. Dyad and Timberline surfaced once together but this alliance was short lived as Dyad and calf went their separate ways. We spent the majority of our trip enjoying Timberline’s predictable feeding theatrics. This whale would kick a few times at the surface, dive, and then come charging up with an open mouth and water streaming from his baleen. Eventually another kick feeding whale caught our attention and we briefly watched Samara as she did similar behaviors. We left our whale friends and sunny skies of Stellwagen and headed back to rainy Boston after a great afternoon at sea.
This afternoon we returned to the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank, where we first spent time with a fin whale. After a short while, we moved on to an area with about 5-6 scattered humpbacks. We spent the rest of our time with Timberline, a kick feeding humpback whale. Our very last look of Timberline was of a gigantic tail breach-which certainly added to the overall excitement of the trip!