Naturalists Notes 11-8-18
November 8, 2018
On the NW corner of Stellwagen we had a spectacular day aboard the Aurora! After yesterday’s sightings, we weren’t quite sure where to going looking, so made a plan to start at the NW corner, and then head south depending on what we found. When we arrived, we first found a pair of humpbacks Timberline and Chinook, taking consistent ten minutes dives, but luckily coming up in the same area after each dive. We also observed numerous small splashes in the distance, which appeared to be leaping tuna.
We decided to head a little further east along the corner to check out another pair of blows, which turned out to be two large females, Quote and Valley. However as we watched Quote and Valley, we spotted 5-6 blows several miles away way out on the horizon (luckily we had a bright clear day!), and so we just had to take a look. To our surprise as we approached those blows, we suddenly started seeing a stream of steady blows, and realized we found a whole pile of whales spread out about 3-4 miles. We estimated that there were at least 30-40 humpbacks! At one point no matter what direction you looked you could see a blow, along with several whales flipper slapping.
A certain humpback stole our humpback with repeated flipper slapping (some belly-up), and it was an exciting way to end our trip. We later ID’ed this whale as Darjeeling, who was traveling with Cork (we also spotted Dome nearby). Not only was this a wonderful behavior to enjoy, but this sighting is also a happy and rewarding one, as the last time Darjeeling was seen in late October, naturalist Kelsey observed this whale have an encounter with fishing gear. It was wonderful to see this whale gear-free! (we also will send the photos to Center for Coastal Studies for further analysis).
Today was certainly an adrenaline-inspired treat!