Thursday, August 7, 2008

A different whale watch

I went on a whale watch about a month ago on a boat my friend captains in Gloucester (Cape Ann). We went about 20 miles out into the Stellwagen Bank where we could no longer see land behind us. It was about a four hour adventure and we saw probably around 20 whales. Most of the whales were of the humpback variety, often with nursing calves. They were generally 2 or 3 to a group and only hung around the surface for about a minute before exposing their tell-tale fluke and descending to the depths. I got to ride up in captains quarters and got the inside scoop on how to spot the whales form a true expert. We looked for a spray of water on the horizon indicating a whales expelling water from his or her spout. It was the hardest to find the first whale but after that we were spotting them left and right. We were lucky enough to see two minke whales speeding along next to our boat. They had different coloring and shape than the humpbacks and they were also smaller. The minke whales also seemed to be swimming along the surface horizontally which is unlike the behavior of the humpbacks who seemed to mostly be swimming up and down. We saw some great big Atlantic tuna too. I was really hoping we would see a basking shark because that has been a life long dream of mine, but we didn't.  All in all, it was an excellent adventure out at sea. My whole life I never knew that the ocean outside my window was home to so many magnificent whales.

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