This morning we took advantage of the beautiful spring weather and traveled to the northwest corner of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

We were excited to spot several blows around the area, but little did we know that it would turn into a whopping six species trip!

We first watched a pair of lunging fin whales that were accompanied by a small group of Atlantic white sided dolphins. We were enjoying the power of these animals when three feeding sei whales caught our attention nearby. The visibility through the water was so great that we were easily able to watch them lunge and travel just below the surface. 

fin whale pair
A pair of fin whales
sei whale
A sei whale feeding

After spending some time with these three, we moved on to two nearby humpback whales… And I am very excited to report that Salt has returned to Stellwagen! We watched Salt and her companion Mars briefly before the pair embarked on a long dive, but the short time we spent with them was perhaps the most memorable part of the trip. We were also visited by several minke whales and a gray seal, although perhaps the most unique sighting of the day came from Tim and Caitlin, citizen scientists from the Stellwagen Sanctuary Seabird Steward program, who spotted a downy woodpecker amongst the other seabirds!

Salt the humpback whale
Salt has returned!

This afternoon we enjoyed equally smooth seas and sunny skies on our ride back out to the northwest corner. There we came across five more humpback whales, identified as Canopy, Snare, Crisscross, Bolide, and Bowline. It was great to see such familiar whales after a long winter off the water! Unlike the two humpbacks this morning, this group was taking shorter dives and wowed us with a few close passes by the boat.

A trio of humpback whales take a plunge
humpback whale Snare
Snare the humpback whale
lotsa diving humpbacks
Lots of humpback whales!

Porpoising Atlantic white sided dolphins joined the fun in between the humpbacks’ surfacings. Before turning back towards Boston, we noted some distant surface activity farther to the southeast. Definitely gives us excitement for the trips to come!