Today I was lucky enough to spend the whole day offshore on a fundraiser trip with the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance, also known as NECWA. After watching the weather forecast all week long worrying that the trip would be canceled, the decision was ultimately made to give it a go. That decision ended up being the right decision as it ended up being a really nice day offshore although we did have to fight through some thick fog early on and we did run into some rain showers in the afternoon, but the gusty winds and high seas held off which was the biggest concern. As I said, we fought dense fog early in the trip so it took us longer than it probably would have to find whales. Once we did find them we were treated to a spectacular display. We had several whales breaching including one which was very close to the bow.
We were also lucky enough to get some nice looks at surface feeding. Witnessing these behaviors is really awe inspiring. I was especially happy that one of the whales, an adult female known as Hancock, was among the whales we saw on this trip. Hancock is one of my personal favorites. She’s a very large female and the thing I love the most about her is that when she inhales she’s incredibly loud about it. It literally sounds a wind tunnel. Another super special whale that we saw today was another adult female known as Salt. Salt is a very famous whale and is known for being the first whale in our Gulf of Maine population to have received a name. Salt receiving her name, based on the white scarring on her dorsal fin, kicked off the in depth research that has been done and is still ongoing on this population. Salt was accompanied by her 14th documented calf this season and they were still together as of yesterday. I think this calf was one of our breaching whales, but without seeing the flukes it’s hard to know for sure.
This trip doubled as a whale/bird watch which allowed us whale watchers and bird watchers to get offshore in search of some pretty awesome wildlife. I think we were all pretty happy with the mix that we got. The bird species that we saw included; Shearwaters (Sooty, Great, Cory’s, and Manx), Northern Gannets, Northern Fulmars, Jaegers (Pomarine and Parasitic), Sabine Gulls, Black Legged Kittiwakes, and many more popular gull species. These trips are really special because unlike our normal routine of doing a morning trip, returning to the harbor to unload passengers, board the afternoon passengers, and then head out for the afternoon trip, we have the opportunity to spend all of our time offshore looking around. In fact, we were out from 8am until 3:30pm which was perfect because as we were getting closer to the harbor the heavy bands of rain started moving in and seas picked up. I’m so thankful that they decided to try today because it really was a great trip!
This post was adapted from a blog, read the original here