Naturalists Notes 6-21-18
June 21, 2018
Our morning trip aboard the Asteria brought us to the northwest corner where we expected to find the whales that had been in that location for a couple of days. We were mistaken in our thinking. We searched the bank with the occasional minke whale and seal sightings but the larger whales were nowhere to be found. We were finally able to catch up with Sedge who would fluke repeatedly within second of each other- interesting behavior since these dives often indicate the whale will be underwater for at least a couple of minutes. We had some really great photo opportunities with the nice lighting and still ocean waters.
Laura L., Charlie, and Annie
Today we traveled out to an area near the middle of Stellwagen Bank. Our trip was spent in the company of two humpback whales, Dross and her calf. We’ve been seeing a lot of this duo over the last few days, and today their behavior was similar to that of our most recent sightings of them. When we arrived, they were at least a mile apart from each other. The rather independent calf took frequent fluking dives while Dross was bubble net feeding at the surface. After some time, the two reunited and the calf immediately began to nurse. It’s always fun to spend a nice day out on the water, but observing these interactions between a mom and offspring made this trip feel extra special!
This afternoon we ventured out in search of two humpback whales that were reported but we were first distracted by a pair of fin whales. As these two headed toward the northwest we also noticed some little splashes and soon realized we had found some Atlantic white sided dolphins! The nice calm water made for a nice contrast to their speedy movements.
We then went off to find Shuffleboard and Nine who began with about a mile between them. We watched Shuffleboard for a little bit and then went off to visit Nine. We had great looks at both whales, but after some time with Nine she sort of disappeared… and reappeared almost a mile back next to Shuffleboard. We were all enjoying the trip for what it was when the two whales certainly ramped it up and began lunge feeding alongside the boat- so close that you can see the hair on Shuffleboard’s rostrum in one photo!
What stands out to me most from today is that it was full of passengers who were truly interested in the life cycles, behaviors, and conservation of these animals. We made some really great connections and shared ideas of how to lessen our carbon footprint, reduce trash and waste, and working toward an overall better environment for our oceans and earth. The attitudes of the people on board today were the ideal for wildlife watching- appreciate everything and head out to sea without expectations but instead a sense of adventure. I turned to head down to the cabin and spotted a passenger’s sweatshirt with the quote that sums up whale watching for me- “This isn’t pressure, this is fun”.
Laura L., Charlie, and Annie