Today’s adventure aboard Asteria got to a sudden start when we spotted a Mola mola, or ocean sunfish, just off of Scituate! Watching this bizarre fish as it flapped in our boatwash was a delight to all, and a wonderful beginning to what became an exciting day.
Heading to the southeast corner, we soon came across numerous clusters of blows! We were unable to decide on one single group, as all of the 16 humpbacks were bobbing and weaving amongst one another, making it impossible to keep track which groups was which. Amongst our first flukes were Hancock and her gregarious calf! A delightful introduction to our cetacean sightings of the day.
After much milling, we pinpointed two large groups who became the main players in the melee, including Crinkle, Campground, 17BH32, Tear, Bounce, Eruption, Crisscross, and Venom. These whales were difficult to follow and capture on camera as they made sharp sounding dives, changing direction rapidly and frequently. These dives were followed by charges to the surface, punctuated by sharking which indicated probable subsurface feeding. Just as we turned our bow back towards Boston we witnessed a double breach! Slowing down in hopes of a repeat, we were able to see two more breaches as we exited the area. Looking back we were able to identify these aeronauts as Firefly and her calf, making this our second mother-calf pair of the day.
This afternoon’s trip to the east was worth the ride because we found approximately 15 humpbacks clustered around the southeast corner. We skipped past the whales that had other boats alongside and watched a single humpback, but we were quickly distracted by a full breach not far away. As we went closer to investigate, a whale in another group also breached, creating a buzz of excitement early in the trip. We then spent some time with Crinkle, Campground, 17BH32, and another whale that never fluked. They were taking short dives and spending a good bit of time at the surface while traveling lazily to the southeast. We really enjoyed seeing them up close and listening to their powerful exhalations as well as inhalations.
With the four whales traveling so slowly next to us it was easy to keep your eyes trained on where they would surface. Imagine our surprise when one of them leapt up in a half breach! Very cool, but what was even better was when it then jumped clear out of the water. It felt like I was watching a film in slow motion as I watched before lifting my camera up at just the right time. What an amazing send off as we turned back to Boston.