We headed out under bright skies in the crisp air with the hopes of seeing more of the activity that has been bubbling to the east of Boston. Shortly after exiting the harbor, we were surprised to see the robust blow of a large whale, likely a sei. As they often do, this whale was not spending very much time at the surface so we continued on. We watched a small group of minke whales feeding on fish beneath the birds at the surface, but spotted the blows of some larger whales in the distance. En route to these next sightings, we came across a pod of Atlantic white sided dolphins. We were lucky enough to be treated to both exciting leaps and slow movements, as well as a handful of calves swimming alongside their moms! You can tell the difference because even though the calves are growing, they still say directly next to the larger of the pair.

dolphin and baby
A baby dolphin swimming alongside adults

Meanwhile, we were also keeping our eyes on two separate groups that were spaced far apart, and ultimately decided to visit the farther group and save the last trio for the ride home, and wow did that plan work out for us! We quickly noticed two large humpbacks, and one little whale who looked like a dolphin traveling next to them. This is the time of year that we begin to see the new calves, and the mom was soon identified as Lavalier. In typical baby fashion, this little one demanded our attention, launching into a series of full body and chin breaches. Passengers were very excited to see the first calf of the 2017 season (as was I!). The escort, or third whale, has yet to be identified, and could be a male or female (not likely to be the calf’s father).

a humpback calf breach
Lavalier's calf breaching

When we thought our time was up with the trio, we began to turn toward home, however Lavalier began kick feeding as she is known for just off our stern. We were treated to a few more looks before making our way toward another large number of whales including humpbacks, minkes, finbacks, and dolphins. It was obvious between the behavior of the whales and diving gannets that there were plenty of fish to be feasted on. We had clear looks at the city skyline behind the flurry of activity, and it was amazing to think of all of this happening in our own backyard while we all go on about our daily lives. What a great reminder of our responsibility to manage our role and support this habitat in our careful choices in consumable goods and sustainable seafood. Three weeks into our 2017 season and we have started off with a splash!