Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 20. 2012 - 12 noon Whale Watch - Krill

Whale Watching with Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours - Krill

We headed offshore with Captain John Boats out of Plymouth MA. We would like to thank Captain John for collaborating with NECWA on an internship program. Captain John provides free tickets for interns each day. This allows us to get offshore high school and college students who are interested in marine biology. What an amazing experience for our interns. Please join Captain John Boats offshore this season as as way of supporting this business and thanking them for helping NECWA with this internship program. Go to their website by clicking HERE.

We headed offshore with high hopes of seeing whales and dolphins offshore and we were not disappointed. As we headed toward the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank, we saw splashing and blows in the distance. To our delight, we realized that we had large baleen whales and dolphins feeding together at the surface.

Also in this area were large numbers of Northern gannets were who performing amazing aerial displays as they were feeding right alongside the larger whales.

The whales were able to push the bait to the surface and this gave us incredible views all around the boat. As we moved from group to group, we realized that we had at least 12 and possibly as high as 15 humpback whales feeding together. The dolphins were feeding with the humpbacks and they would often surface right next to the boat or directly under the bow sprint as they were chasing the bait.

We took lots of photos of the whales and have been working on photo-identification since we got home. So far, these are the humpbacks we have been able to identify: Ventisca, Nazka, Circus, Ventisca's 2008 calf, Scylla's 2008 calf, Pitcher, Fern, Hazard, Aplus, Bombay, and Twinkle.

We would like to thank Jenna and Jooke from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies for all their help in confirming these identifications. Captain John Boats shares its sighting data with this organization as a way of contributing to the longterm database on humpback whales in the Gulf of Maine.