Good Day Baleen Balladeers,
Our Wednesday wandering of southern Stellwagen Bank was a bewildering blitzkrieg of baleen, bird, and blow! Our 10am voyage with Captain Bill aboard the Cetacea began with two sightings of humpback whales breaching in synchrony a mile apart, but these oceanic outbreaks ceased upon close approach. The first of these two associations included Ebony and an accomplice who opted not to fluke when diving in six minute intervals. The breaching and flipper slapping seen earlier was only to live on in memory, prompting Bill to head east for more active fauna.
|Ebony's fluke pattern of black. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
Those on the Cetacea were in happy agreement with the captain as we encountered the tenacious association of Belly, Canopy, and Pele! The trio surfaced amidst mighty clouds of bubbles, proudly thrusting their rostrums out of the sea while water permeated through their plates of baleen. Their feeding formula was echoed by an approaching association of humpback whales Hancock, Apex, and Azrael.
|Rostrum's at the surface. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
|Belly. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
|Canopy. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
|Pele. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
|Hancock. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
|Apex. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
|Azrael. Rich Dolan, BHc naturalist|
|Unidentified whale. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
Amidst this briny banquet were two humpback whales that would roll and dive amidst the hunters, only to rest periodically at the surface. These were discovered to be the calves of Apex and Hancock, dwarfed by their older counterparts who bore fresh rostrum scarring from subsurface hunts. During their siesta the miniature mysticetes were passed by an enigmatic basking shark, another filter feeder from the kingdom of the deep! We opted not to follow the serpentine poise of the super-fish, as our senses were fully arrested by the cetacean squall.
|Hancock 2015 Calf. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
|Apex 2015 Calf. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
|Oceanic Sunfish. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
Our terrestrial obligations prompted the return of the Cetacea toward land, but not before our craft penetrated an avian tempest of shearwaters and terns. During our exploits a shearwater miscalculated an oceanic landing, giving passengers on the bow a rare close look at its plumage and handsome beak! Captain Bill rewarded the heroism of our observers with a brief glimpse of an ocean sunfish as it swam artfully around our boat wash. During our return we observed a beach ball standing sentry on the seas, mocking the uniformity of the calm blue swell with flamboyant geometry.
|Shearwater stepping away. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
|Lone beach ball. Rich Dolan, BHC naturalist|
Yesterday marked my final adventure with NEAQ intern Cassie, with whom I have had many a merry whale watch. May Stellwagen Bank touch the hearts of all who visit this alien frontier!
Peace and Love,