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Naturalists Notes
Naturalists Notes 5-23-18

May 23, 2018

10:00 AM

The crook of northwest Stellwagen Bank

Held subjects deep on the sea bottom flank.

The Asteria, of gear and cog

Sought flesh- borne equals from Atlantic bog.

Our morning trek happened upon life,

A Humpback whale, tapered as if giant’s knife.

Unsheathed from the scabbard of ocean,

The leviathan lumbered in dream’s den.

Colt was the moniker of this soul,

A titan with pelt as dark as Earth’s coal.

We left this lad to roam untold dream;

A sea outside time and combustion scream.

A triad of Humpback whales northward

Parted the tranquil seas with discord.

But heartbeats gave way to combustion;

One whale achieved airborne exaltation!

Mogul the Humpback whale flew sky-bound,

Reborn in the air, weightless without pound.

This modern day Pegasus, winged white,

Dutifully breached in Stellwagen light.

Mogul continued as if by law,

Inhabiting the sky like living star.

He did linger before descension,

Not before summoning more attention.

A vessel, Calypso, sought the steed,

Thrusting forth with gusto and without heed.

This miniature vessel maintained gait,

Without captained wheel, boat resigned to fate.

As the gentlemen gazed off their port,

Their subject flew silently sans retort.

But Mogul dropped as an asteroid,

Felling mirrored swell into a white void.

A captain must be weary of whales,

As they call attention with vapor hails.

Nature does orate her warnings clear,

Ignore her teachings and down you shall steer!

The lesson of the story is to be mindful of whale activity, to ensure the safety of humans and animals.  One doesn’t have to rush around whales for memorable experiences, but to wait patiently is to be rewarded.  We here at the New England Aquarium Whale Watch are trained to read whale behavior under the program Whale SENSE.  If you wish to whale watch responsibly on your own boats, See a Spout is available to recreational boaters as an educational and FREE program. Let’s all protect Earth’s cetaceans, on their terms!

Periscope Down, Rich W D


12:00 PM

It was another gorgeous day on the northern end of Stellwagen Bank where we first found a single humpback whale. Hancock was easily identified when she swam under the boat and lifted her beautiful fluke nice and high, allowing us to see the “signature” that is seemingly scratched into the right side. After one of her dives we noticed a series of bubbles stewing at the surface and watched intently as more appeared. We waited… and waited… and waited. It seemed like eons before Hancock finally erupted in the middle of the well-formed spiral with spared herring flying in all directions. We really enjoyed these dramatic lunges before she stopped feeding and made a beeline to the north.

We had noticed a couple of other whales in that direction and were pleased that the trip was naturally directing us to them. As we waited for one of the new humpbacks to appear I noticed passengers looking straight down off the side railings. When I peeked over I could see glowing green of a flipper, however it was tiny! A calf swam up into view and we watched as it kicked its tail rapidly while mom rose up behind. The two took off and charged away before the calf returned solo. When the mother lifted her tail I immediately recognized her even though I don’t believe I have ever actually seen her in person. Shuttle gets her name from a clear-as-day marking on the fluke that has caught my attention when flipping through the catalog many times. What a cool way to wrap up!

Laura L. and Charlie