Our sightings started early this morning, as we were able to pause minutes after departure to watch harbor porpoise cruise through the channel.

harbor porpoise with city in background
Harbor porpoise cruising Boston Harbor

We then headed out to Stellwagen atop some high rolling waves, and our first hint of whale activity was a cluster of birds milling at the water’s surface. We could see the blow from a larger whale, however our first bit of action came from the pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins circling and charging around what I assume was a patch of fish. The dolphins will work together to corral fish within their pod to feed on, and every once in a while we would see a surge of speed from 2-3 individuals, making me think we were joining them at lunch time. We had a quick glimpse of the larger whale, but decided to do a bit of searching for some other animals.

seaguls and dolphins
Seagulls and dolphins milling about
dolphin kicks
High-speed dolphin kicks

With the calm seas, we were able to spot many other dolphins and harbor porpoise, near and far. Before long, we found ourselves in the company of two minke whales. We paused to watch these dolphins, and this pod appeared to be more curious of us. They would swim parallel to us, slowly meandering along as they turned on their sides. A couple of times I heard a clicking sound, such a special treat to listen in on their communications!

curious dolphin underwater
Curious dolphin watching the watchers
closeup of whale nostrils
Closeup on the nostrils of a large whale

As we made our way back to Boston, some observant passengers noticed a ‘big whale’ off our port side, and they were right! The size comparison of a fin whale was remarkable after spending most of our time with animals not much larger than people. We had some great looks at the fin whale, who was moving in a circular pattern and also appeared to be feeding beneath the surface. It was a beautiful preview of summer whale watching!

— Laura L. and Julia