The Sanctuary kicked off Labor Day weekend with great sightings of ten or so humpbacks, including Hancock, Pumba, Jabiru, Cajun, Perseid, and Bolide. We had great looks at these animals and were enjoying the calm before the storm.

We had ended our time with whales and were making our way back to Boston when we witnessed an enormous breach in the distance. It wasn’t too far off course so we crossed our fingers and hoped that the surface activity continued- it was amazing to watch these huge animals leap upward as we approaches. We were treated to a few closer looks at flipper slapping before the trio dove sneakily back into the Atlantic. 


humpback pair with sunset on horizon
A pair of humpback whales surface in front of the sunset.

The evening air had a bit of chill to it, and we cruised over smooth seas to find a single humpback flipper slapping. As we approached, the whale rolled right side up and gave a very low fluke as it embarked on an eight minute dive. We could see the other whales in the area, and as we made the decision to see them, Adam and I looked at each other knowing this whale would come back up as we left. Sure enough, I heard a shout and turned to see the whale flipper slapping again… After a moment of staring at each other wondering what to do, we turned back. It stopped. We waited. In the meantime the second whale became surface active. I snapped photo of the dorsal fin as it sunk beneath the surface and we kept going.  

We were approaching whales that were easier to watch, and it must have been one child’s first sighting because from just over my shoulder came an absolute shriek of pure joy. We spent a bit of time with Hancock and Pumba before watching Pele. 


whale fluke lobtailing
Jabiru lobtailing

In the distance, we could see a group of five — Cajun, Jabiru, Perseid, Bolide, and A-Plus. Watching the group surface together was impressive, and among the orange tinted waters made the experience absolutely breathtaking. We started to notice a bit of noise coming from the whales, a couple of trumpet blows and a few growls. Suddenly A-Plus surfaced signally and began kick feeding. In the mean time, Cajun took off to the east and Jabiru began tail breaching and lob tailing. Perseid and Bolide eventually surfaced together, but not before Jabiru pooped while belly-up lob tailing, sending feces flying in all directions. 

She lob tailed so close to the boat that we could see her belly underwater, and she dove and resurfaced with Perseid and Bolide. There was a moment after all of the commotion when everything was calm, and the entire boat stopped to look around at the serene waters and cotton candy sky to appreciate this beautiful experience. As we approached the dock, we were greeted by a fireworks display at the end of Long Wharf. While there are still almost three months left in our whale watching season, today was a perfect send off to a fantastic first summer with BHC and the Aquarium, and I am looking forward to moving into fall whale watching! 

— Laura

Enjoy more pictures from whale watches on this day!