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Naturalist’s Notebook: June 13 to June 19

* Windy was the word of the day for June 13. So much so that the Dolphin Fleet stayed safely at home.

* The fog on the morning of June 14 did make it a little more difficult to find things to look at. The captains and crews of the Dolphin 9 and Dolphin 8 were up to that challenge. Numerous minke whales and finback whales were spotted throughout the day, as were a number of gray seals and basking sharks.

* The storm of the preceeding day did appear to scatter the sand eels and, therefore, the humpback whales. Hancock, however, was seen throughout the day, blowing very fine nets of bubbles and rising slowly and gracefully through the clouds in their centers with her mouth open, collecting the schooling fish she had concentrated together. Today, it was the afternoon trips that were treated to the closest looks at the feeding humpback whale. That is not always the case, as you will well know if you have been several adventures.

* Hancock was again seen feeding on June 15. In addition to this humpback female, there were also lunging finback and minke whales.





* Again, on June 16, there were three species of feeding baleen whales; humpbacks, finwhales, and minkes. Even taking into account the breaching that thrilled passengers on the early afternoon voyage, the highlight of the day was the sighting on the later afternoon trip of numerous feeding humpback whales out to the southeast. When I say numerous, I mean around one hundred!!!! They were spread out over several miles and feeding in groups as small as one, and as many as six or so!

Humpbacks feeding

Feeding humpbacks

feeding humpbacks

* June 17 started slow. It was rainy in the morning but there were several finback whales at the Race. To the east, humpback whales were spotted but it was a bit of a wait before they were seen closeup. It was well worth the wait. There were mother and calf pairs present. Several of the calves breached close to the vessels, nearly close enough for the passengers to get wet. And one of the mothers, unconcerned by our presence, continued to blow her bubble nets almost underneath the boat.

PERSEID CALF-6-17-14_IMG_1942
* This is the 2014 calf of Perseid, one of nearly 3 dozen humpbacks sighted on today’s adventures.


* And Putter.


* And Lariat.

* Breaching and lobtailing and flippering. The calves spent most of the afternoon treating our passengers to the various behaviors that the species has become known for.

breaching calf IMG_5094

Small lobtailer

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* The place to be, again, on June 18 was way out to the east. 45 to 60 humpback whales were spread out over a span of several miles. Do you recognize any of these?

ganesh IMG_4588

* And, of course, there was some feeding.


* And flipper-slapping.


* The whales to the east had moved on by the morning of June 19, leaving three humpbacks close to Provincetown. There was Pepper, first seen in 1975 and named the same day as Salt (because she was travelling with Salt, she became Pepper). There was Hancock, first seen in 1992. And there was Measles. For the late afternoon, they were joined by two mother and calf pairs, Nile and her 2014 calf and Tongs and her 2014 calf. Feeding was again the event of the day. For the adults, anyway. The youngsters had other things in mind.

HANCOCK HEAD-6-19-14_IMG_2109



* But the adults were not content to let the calves have all of the fun.

PEPPER CB_6-19-14_IMG_2092