Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ocean Exploration Cruise - Sunday June 11, 2017


Date: Sunday, June 11, 2017
Time: 8 am - 2 pm
Location: 7 Seas Whale Watch, 63 Rogers Street, Gloucester, MA 
Vessel: Privateer IV

Registration Link for Trip

NOAA Forecast Link:

7 Seas Whale Watch website

NECWA website

Liability Waiver

Our spring Ocean Exploration Cruise is a GO for this coming Sunday, June 11th from 8 am to 2 pm. We ride aboard the Privateer IV, which is owned and operated by 7 Seas Whale Watch, out of Gloucester, MA located at 63 Rogers Street. You will have to pay for parking so bring small bills, etc. 

Guest Naturalists: I am looking forward to seeing everyone offshore as well as working with our amazing Guest Naturalists for this trip that include: Wayne Petersen, Jim Sweeney, Thomas Robben, and Dr. Adrian Jordan. These experts are also donating their time offshore and we greatly thank them for their efforts on NECWA's behalf. 

Our Ocean Exploration Cruises are an annual fundraising event for NECWA. We are a small, grassroots nonprofit that is all-volunteer and you will meet some of those volunteers onboard the boat this coming Sunday. Any money raised by this event (minus trip expenses) will be used to purchase field gear for this season's field work, including accurate GPS units, a Phantom drone, inflatable paddle board, kayak, and field calipers. In this way, your participation directly supports research, education, and conservation activities in the New England area. 

Update on June 4, 2017 - Hi. Our trip is a GO for Sunday. Tickets are still available so please let friends, family, and colleagues know about this fundraising event. Here are some recent updates about the trip. Best, Krill
  • Where do I find updates about the trip? NECWA will provide updates about Sunday's trip by sending emails through our Constant Contact Event Site and by posting on our NECWA News blog at
  • What can I bring onboard the boat? You can bring any food or drink onboard the boat, but no alcoholic beverages. Please don't bring a large cooler as space will be limited on the boat. 
  • What should I wear when offshore? Dress in layers and dress for the weather. This trip runs in the rain or shine so dress accordingly. Bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. And don't forget your binoculars and your camera!
  • Who do I contact with questions or issues? If you have any questions or concerns about this trip, please contact Krill at or call her cell phone at 508-369-8303.
  • Contributing to NECWA's onboard Nature Raffle: If you would like to donate a new or gently used item to NECWA's free onboard nature raffle, please bring it to the boat on Sunday morning and give to any NECWA staff or intern. Thank you in advance for your donation. 
  • Activities that will be conducted offshore: If time and weather allows, we will conduct a plankton tow offshore as well as chum for seabirds. We always collect sighting data and photographic images on all the marine wildlife seen offshore. This year, NECWA interns will also conduct a marine debris survey over the course of the trip.
  • What about Weather Issues? We will all be keeping our eye on the weather for Sunday and you can as well by checking the marine forecast from NOAA. Click the link above. 
Update on June 7, 2017 - Hi. Everyone needs to fill out a trip liability waiver. Here is the information that you need. Dear Ocean Lovers:

Our trip is this Sunday June 11th.
Please send us your signed liability waiver document(s) as soon as possible, for you (AND for any guests/friends you may bring). 
You can find that waiver document at this internet address:

Download/print it, then fill it in and sign it, and send it to us either of these three ways:

1)   email a scanned/photographed image of it to:    ---OR
2)   send the original signed paper document by postal mail today to..... Thomas Robben, 172 Grandview Drive, Glastonbury, CT  06033     ---OR
3)   bring the signed document(s) with you to the ship on June 11th. 

Thank you,
Tom Robben

Friday, January 27, 2017

Saving Sea Turtles - a new documentary

On Saturday January 14th, NECWA staff and family members headed down to Cape Cinemas in Dennis, MA, to attend the world premiere of “Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction.” This documentary was narrated by Dr. Sylvia Earle, with filming and editing by Michele Gomes and Jennifer Ting. Saving Sea Turtles chronicled the activities of dedicated staff and volunteers all over the country who help save endangered sea turtles.
Program for documentary viewing at Cape Cinema, Dennis, MA.
Each fall and early winter staff at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary coordinate volunteers to walk Cape Cod beaches in search of cold-stunned sea turtles. Many species of sea turtles migrate to the waters off New England to feed over the course of the spring, summer, and fall. Most of the turtles in this area are juveniles who are looking for warm, productive waters to feed. As winter approaches, sea turtles must migrate south to warmer, more tropical waters. As they move past New England, some become trapped in the arm of Cape Cod and are unable to find their way out. As water temperatures in Cape Cod Bay continue to fall, these individuals become cold-stunned, a hypothermic condition caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures.

Cold-stunned sea turtles are now at the mercy of the currents and waves and will eventually wash ashore, typically on the northern beaches of Cape Cod. Once stranded, these animals are now in trouble for they are exposed to colder air temperatures and to predators. Unable to move or defend themselves, these turtles will quickly die if not rescued.

The species of sea turtles that strand on Cape Cod are the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas), the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta), and the Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate). The Kemp’s Ridley strands in the highest numbers and is the smallest sea turtle in our area. Regardless of the species, the majority of sea turtles that strand are juveniles that are not old enough to reproduce.

During the 2014 stranding season, a huge increase in the number of stranded cold-stunned sea turtles occurred on Cape Cod with more than 1,200 washing ashore. Dealing with large numbers of stranded individuals resulted in long, stressful days not only for rescuers on Cape Cod, but also for rehabilitators in Quincy with the New England Aquarium. Filming this busy season and showing how everyone came together to help out was the main focus of this documentary.

View of Discussion Panel at Cape Cinema
Filmmakers Michele Gomes and Jennifer Ting, highlighted efforts by Mass Audubon, NECWA, and the New England Aquarium to rescue as many of these sea turtles as possible. The documentary also looked at the research and conservation activities occurring in other parts of the United States as well as Mexico. Through efforts to protect nesting beaches, nesters, and hatchlings, and to restore nesting beaches, Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles are once again nesting along the shores of Texas. Michelle and Jenny did an incredible job of providing a comprehensive and fascinating look into the work of individuals and organizations that work together to conserve and protect these amazing animals.

There was a huge turnout for this premiere, and not surprisingly, it was sold out! Check out their website to learn more about this documentary and to find showings near you.

NECWA collaborates with Wellfleet Bay by assisting with rescues of cold-stunned sea turtles on Cape Cod. Krill, Tammy, Sammy, Carly, Jessica, Courtney, Belinda, Dawilmer, Mary, and other members of NECWA have and continue to walk specific beaches for Mass Audubon looking for stranded turtles. They also help transport cold-stunned sea turtles from Cape Cod to Quincy, conduct preliminary exams, and assist in necropsies (animal autopsies) of deceased individuals each January and February.

Rescued Kemp's ridley sea turtles in Krill's truck for transport to Wellfleet Bay.
You can do your part by supporting NECWA through a donation of any size. NECWA is an all-volunteer organization so all donations support our many projects and activities. To to our website at to support today. Also, keep an eye out for cold-stunned sea turtles while walking the beaches of Cape Cod in the fall and early winter. If you spot a stranded sea turtle, contact staff at Wellfleet Bay by 508-349-2615 ext.6104. Call NECWA at 508-566-0009 if you find a stranded ocean sunfish, dead or alive, for we rescue and study this unusual species of fish that also strands on the shores of New England each fall and early winter.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Savers Fundraiser for NECWA in 2017 - Collect used articles for NECWA

Download and print our NECWA Donation Tags so you can tag your bags and boxes with our information. Click HERE to download the PDF file of the tag image below. This file is also on the NECWA Event's Page on our website at

2017 Marine Wildlife Calendar from NECWA

Coming soon, NECWA staff member, Courtney Callahan, has put together a fabulous calendar for 2017. Inside are many beautiful photos of whales, seals, seabirds, ocean sunfish and other animals that NECWA has taken over the years.

Support NECWA through the purchase of our first Marine Wildlife calendar. Calendars are $15 each, including shipping.

Check back soon to learn how you can get your calendar as soon as they become available.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

PACTV News Review of NECWA

This fall, Kim Miot from Plymouth Public Access TV stopped by the NECWA office to chat with Krill and some of our staff members and interns on what NECWA is doing in the New England community. Kim also interviews NECWA staff members Courtney Callahan and Danny Marston.

Visit YouTube to view this short video by clicking  HERE

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

North American Right Whale Consortium Overview by NECWA Intern Barbara Cross

Location for NARW annual meeting
The North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium meet this past week on November 2nd and 3rd at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in order to share scientific work done by researchers studying Right Whales in the waters of the Gulf of Maine extending down to Florida. The consortium was composed of an executive committee and elected board members as well as scientists, fishermen, students and governing environmental bodies traveling from the east coast of the US and Canada.

A misty day in New Bedford, MA
Among the topics discussed were accounts of lethal and nonlethal entanglement, critical habitat, calf exchange between mothers, new technologies for 3-D imaging, theories on feeding habits relating to flamingo anatomy, migration patterns and much more. The consortium included line fishing displays from commercial lobster fishermen, and the continuing efforts from grade school students, “The Calvineers” who advocate for the recovery of the North Atlantic Right Whale by comparing their desires to the US Bill of Rights.
Display of Right Whale skeleton 

As usual in the science realm, there are always many questions and few answers. The consortium queried during session breaks and discussion periods about basic ideas, “Is there significant evidence to proclaim that North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW) population is crashing?” If so, “What needs to be done about it?” These questions led to a healthy discussion and of course, more questions. At first the solution seemed simple “Take the ropes out of the water,” said the scientists, but also to be considered is the ever present and realistic demands of politics, the economy and present culture. There were several statements on action that were artful and convincing from a single perspective. There is a need for coercion and a focus on the ideas and solutions of people, not just scientists and not just fishermen.
Presentation hall

There is much we still must learn about the NARW including their life history traits. How long do females typically remain reproductive? How long could they live? Is it usual that mothers will raise another mother’s calf? To answer these questions there is a dire need  to be a need for cooperative efforts between scientists, the community, commercial fishermen and young students. Social and cultural cohesion may be a greater challenge then increasing the population of the NARW.

Next year’s North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium annual meeting will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Consortium reception
Right Whale hanging skeletons
Photos by Barbara Cross
For more information about the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium visit

Shop for the Holidays with NECWA

Support NECWA by shopping for holiday items through our new online store.

To visit our store, click HERE

Pick-up some great deals on t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and other items.

Each purchase supports NECWA mission of helping to better understand and protect the unique coastal marine wildlife of New England.

NECWA is an all-volunteer organization so all purchases go directly to support our many projects and activities.

Thank you for your interest and your support.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ocean Exploration Cruise

Thank you to all our participants who joined NECWA for our Ocean Exploration Cruise. We sailed aboard the Privateer IV, owned and operated by 7 Seas Whale Watch, for a Saturday full of wildlife viewing, big swells, science and chocolate! Thank you to our guest naturalists that included Wayne Petersen, Jim Sweeney, Ingrid Biedron, Adrian Jordan, and Thomas Robben. Thanks to NECWA staff and interns that included: Krill Carson, Tammy Silva, Courtney Callahan, Michael O'Neill, and Barbara Cross. A big thank you to 7 Seas Whale Watch, Captain Jay Frontierro and crew for doing such an amazing job offshore!

Our weather offshore was a bit overcast with fog in the morning and periods of light to moderate rain in the afternoon. Winds were out of the north, northwest at 3-9 mph early, then west, northwest at 6-13 mph. For the birders onboard, highlights were two Sabine's gulls (adult and juvenile), five Northern fulmars, and five pomarine jaegers. 
Capt. Jay
October 22nd was a mystical day beginning with limited visibility and rough seas. With Captain Jay Frontierro at the helm, veils of fog hugging the horizon where no match for his uncanny ability to uncover 10-12 humpback whales near the southwest corner of Stellwagon Bank.

Many of these humpback whales in this area, Hancock, Crisscross, Rocker, Bandit, and our beloved Salt with her 14th calf Sriracha, were intent on their feeding and gave us quite a show. The Humpbacks treated us with bubble net feeding, breaches and displayed their unique flukes under ever improving light conditions. However, there was more than one star of the show.

Humpbacks bubble feeding
Video of Humpbacks feeding

Not long after our departure from Gloucester we encountered 4-5 Harbor Porpoises and soon a Minke and Finback whale with the brief presence of an Ocean Sunfish! Throughout the day scientists, volunteers and interns from NECWA, Mass Audubon, and the Stellwagon Bank National Marine Sanctuary kept the ship entertained with commentary on animal behaviors, witty jokes, a free nature-themed raffle, and pre-Halloween treats.
Michael coiling the plankton net
Salps (clear, globular animals) and copepods (smaller reddish creatures)
A live plankton tow gave guests a close up view of salps that look like a translucent barrel-shaped pod or string.

Despite an unsuccessful chumming attempt to attract our favorite sea faring birds, we did see large numbers of shearwaters, including great shearwaters, Cory's shearwater, sooty shearwaters, manx shearwaters, as all as Northern gannets and jaegers who kept pace with our vessel and often with the feeding whales.
Our fearless companions 
To top it all off, our day of adventure ended with a rainbow and a safe harbor. Thanks to Michael Thompson for the GIS map below of our travels offshore and the locations of the marine mammals that we observed.

Thank you to Krill Carson for organizing this trip and to our captain, participants, and scientists!

Also to go Thomas Robben's blog that reviews the trip by clicking HERE:

Most updated species List is below:

Seabirds and Sea Ducks:                  Marine Mammals:                    Humpback Whales:
40 common eider                                 3-5 Harbor Porpoise                   Salt and calf (Sriracha)
1 white-winged scoter                         1 Fin Whale                                Crisscross
3 common loon                                   1 Minke Whale                            Rocker
5 Norther fulmar                                 12-15 Humpback Whales            Bandit
1200 Cory's shearwater                                                                           Whirlygig
400 great shearwater                                                                                Hancock
15 sooty shearwater                                                                                 Cateyes
164 Northern gannets                                                                               Pharos
5 pomarine jaeger
60 black-legged kittiwake