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Dolphin Fleet Naturalist Notebook – 4 October to 10 October

A blustery week meant scarce opportunities for whale watching this week.  However, we were still able to make it out of the harbor on October 7th.  The Portuguese Princess II headed north and around the hook of the Race Point to try to seek shelter from the gusting southwest winds.  There, we spotted four humpbacks and one Minke whale.   Though three out of four humpbacks were unidentifiable juveniles, we were able to recognize one of the whales, a humpback named Tapioca.  Tapioca is named for the “lumpy” looking black and white markings on the underside of the fluke.  Tapioca looks to be a relatively young whale, and we have been seeing it regularly here in the Cape Cod region since 1996.


With brighter skies and slightly calmer seas on the afternoon of October 8th, we were able to make it a little bit farther north to the eastern side of Stellwagen Bank.  Here, we had between 12 and 20 humpback whales!  There is a common misconception that whales leave with the crowds in the fall, but in reality, humpbacks can be seen in abundance until late November and early December feeding and preparing for their journey south.  Algebra, Mars’ 2009 calf, and Trench made appearances today, as did Crystal.  Crystal, one of Salt’s calves is a male born in 1980.  He was named Crystal because he was “a little piece of Salt”.  This year, Salt is back with her twelfth known calf.  Today, however, she was nowhere to be seen.  This was no surprise, as it is unusual for humpback whale mothers and calves to be seen associating for long periods of time beyond the calf’s first year of life.