Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
11 am Whale Watch - Michael
Calm seas in Plymouth Harbor and a good weather report left us surprised at the report of 3-4 foot seas on Stellwagen Bank. Dramamine alert! Passengers who needed some got it as we provide free Dramamine to all our passengers onboard. Luckily, I didn't see anyone sick the entire time we were offshore.
We were fortunate to find humpbacks on the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. Our first sighting was a pair and most probably a mother and calf. As we watched this pair, we were taken by surprise by a solitary humpback who snuck up on us from the deeps, swam under the boat, and popped up right alongside the boat. It then joined the mother and calf pair for a half hour together. These three spent a lot of time on the surface or hovered just a few feet below allowing us to still see the beautiful flippers airplaning through the water.
A couple fluke out dives showed a bit of ventral fluke, but not enough for us to identify these individual whales. One humpback rolled over on its side and did several flipper slaps. They stayed near us a long time and the passengers were thrilled. For seabird sightings, we only saw a handful of Wilson's Storm Petrels as they flitted just off the sides of our vessel.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
We left a foggy Plymouth Harbor today and headed out to clear skies and calm seas, 1-2 ft out on southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank. We had a quick peak at a single humpback whale that was up quick and then down quick. We then headed over to another single humpback whale that was logging fairly close to the boat, so our passengers got a nice close look at this whale. This whale was identified as a female named Crown (see image of her fluke above).
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Once again we visited the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank to see a number of humpbacks (as well as a few minke whales). The air was hazy (4-5 miles visibility) and the sky was mostly cloudy. There was an increasing wind from the SW, but the seas never got higher than about 1-2 feet.
We started out with two humpbacks logging, although they were seemingly only somewhat associated. While one whale hovered at the surface, in a fairly typical logging routine, the other would tend to drift deeper (as if it were a bit less buoyant) before rising slowly to take its spaced-apart breaths, and not always right next to the other whale. After a while, the "normal logger" (who turned out to be Lilium) rolled over a couple of times right next to our boat, flipper slapping a couple of times in the process.
We then spent some time with a trio of humpbacks, a mother/calf pair and an escort. The still-unidentified mother/calf pair was the same one we saw on the previous afternoon's trip, while the escort turned out to be Longboard. The trio split up after a while, and we later had a nice close approach by Longboard (while the mother and calf seemed to be deep feeding a few hundred yards away).
We also saw Forceps in the area, although we did not end up getting close to him/her, since we were busy with other whales all the while. I will have photos from this trip at http://www.flukeshots.net/2009/090822/ just as soon as they are processed.
Very few birds were seen (due to very little surface baitfish). The few shearwaters were nearly all Cory's. The most unusual bird event was observed while we were stopped watching whales late in the trip - there was a group of a few adult and immature greater black-backed gulls that had pretty much picked the carcass of a fish clean, but still occasionally nibbled at it, while a group of four or five Wilson's storm-petrels kept circling and trying to feed at the same spot, attracted possibly by scraps of the fish in the water or possibly by small critters feeding on the fish or the scraps (?).
11 am Whale Watch - Krill
We saw all/only humpbacks, mostly younger ones, on both trips. (I will have photos from these trips at http://www.flukeshots.net/2009/090821/ as soon as they are processed.)
On the AM trip the whales seemed to be either logging or deep feeding, mostly as individuals or in pairs. The high points of the trip were the two times when one logging humpback and one apparently deep feeding humpback took a few minutes out of their routines to do a little bit of people watching close to our stationary boat.
On the PM trip the whales seemed to be more active at the surface, likely stimulated by the increasing wind and waves. Most of the whales seen were either calves or juveniles (often breaching, tail breaching, lobtailing, or flippering) or one mother and a few juveniles apparently deep feeding. ID's included Condensation and Forceps. One unusual aspect of this particular trip was that we saw more calves than mothers - probably the moms were doing lengthy deep feeding runs and we missed some of their surfacings (?).
Very few birds were seen (due to very little surface baitfish). The few shearwaters were nearly all Cory's.