This past Saturday marked the end of the 2023 season and what an incredible send off we had!
In the morning we were fortunate enough to see the most famous whale of our population, none other than NA-0036 “Salt”!
She’s the first whale to receive a name in the Gulf of Maine – she’s basically the whale who started the research efforts within this population. She had us all pretty worried as she wasn’t seen until late summer. I think we all shared a sigh of relief in knowing that she was ok! To see her on our final day of the season was a very special moment.
In the afternoon we spent the majority of our time with a group of four whales; “3.14” and NA-8585 “Milkweed”, along with NA-9248 “A-Plus” and her calf.
The calf was a little playful and rolly at the surface.
She treated us to a handful of nice breaches and tail breaches while the adults were busy feeding beneath the surface.
On our way back to the harbor we spotted a whale breaching in the distance which was just too good to pass up so our captain made a little detour.
It was another mother and calf pair. Mom was quickly identified as NA-8957 “Bounce”. Although this pair had been seen multiple times throughout the season by many, this was my first time seeing them. The calf was very active as we were treated to more breaches and some flipper slapping as we started to leave the area.
Of course, we all know that the calf was not waving goodbye to us, but it seemed fitting to view it as such. The boat erupted in cheers, applause, and goodbyes in return. It was one of the most touching moments of the season.
We’re not sure what’s going on with Bounce’s calf’s skin or how all those marks got there. Hopefully it’s nothing to worry about.
As if the whale activity wasn’t enough to call the day a major success, we were also treated to a beautiful sunset and moonrise over the ocean as we made our way to the harbor. At one point, the adults charged towards the boat giving us an incredible look! Here’s one of the adults blowing a “rainblow”.
I’ve had a lot of unforgettable days out at sea, but this one will always be a highlight. It was such a picture perfect day full of so many special moments. By far one of my most favorite days… ever!
Thank you to everyone at Cape Ann Whale Watch for an incredible season. I’m already counting down until the 2024 season! April can’t come fast enough! I hope you all have a great offseason.