We made our way out to the southern end of Stellwagen Bank yesterday morning as threatening clouds trailed close behind us. Undiscouraged by the dark clouds brewing overhead, we were thrilled to find up to two dozen humpback whales in manageable sea conditions right on the southwest corner. Our moments of elation were brief as the storm front hit soon thereafter, and with it came fierce winds, tumultuous waves, and large rain drops. This baby of a squall was more beautiful than it was dangerous, and we made our way into the safety of the Asteria cabins to enjoy the excitement of this brief downpour. Captain Jimmy and I did our best to keep track of the quickly scattering whales as their reaction to the sudden change in weather conditions appeared to mirror that of the humans onboard.

passengers watch humpbacks feeding on Stellwagen Bank
Passengers watch whales surface amidst a bubble net with mouthsful of feed

The commotion of the storm was short-lived. We were soon graced with clear visibility and surrounded by feeding humpbacks. These hungry humpbacks included Jumpshot, Circus, Sprinkler, Crossbeam, Landslide, Tear, Aerospace, Putter, Apex, Leukos, Aswan, Freckles, Thread, Seal, and Kappa. Kick feeding, bubblenet feeding, and trumpeting, these whales feasted until time forced us to make our way back to Boston.

whale tale out of water during kick feeding
Pinch kickfeeding

After hearing continued reports of feeding humpbacks in the south, we once again made our way towards the southwest corner. As we zeroed in on the feeding site, we surprisingly observed a good number of whales heading in the opposite direction of our travel. One duo included Oreo, accompanied by an unknown we have been tracking since earlier this season. We continued on to find the feeding group had disseminated, yet were delighted to find scattered humpbacks.

One kick feeding whale in particular caught our attention. It turned out to be Pinch. When sighted in the spring, this whale had fresh entanglement wounds and cyamid patches, a condition sometimes associated with poor health. From what we could tell, Pinch appeared healthy with no obvious signs of poor health!

We finished up on Putter, Freckles, Cat Eyes, and Thread who were resting and slowly traveling. We made our way back to Boston in calm seas and beautiful skies! What a gorgeous day on the water!

Tasia

humpback whales feeding at surface
Whales bubble net feeding
whale mouth at surface while feeding
A whale dragging at the surface while feeding
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