Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Late Post (Trip to Stellwagen Bank)

13th of August 2008
My brother and I took the 13:30 cruise aboard the Voyager III to Stellwagen Bank. The weather conditions were extremely pleasant, approximately 80 degrees Farenheight, and the ocean was very calm. Our journey from the Boston Harbor to Stellwagen Bank took close to an hour thirty minutes. When I learned that the Bank was 25 miles off shore I was not expecting to still see land, but the amazing weather conditions made land visible even from Stellwagen. Once the Voyager arrived at Stellwagen, it wasn’t long before the whales started appearing on the surface of the ocean. I counted up to eight humpbacks at one time. The whales appeared to be feeding because they would engulf enormous amounts of water at a time. This species of whale is known as a ‘baleen’ whale because it doesn’t have teeth but rather hair like teeth that trap small creatures such as sand lance. Hovering just above the whales was usually a large flock of seagulls. I also spotted a finback whales and or possibly a mink whale. The tour guide explained that the whales perform ‘beach rubbing’ by diving down to the bottom of the ocean and rubbing their head or nostrum to scare the small fish. The bumps on the humpback are known as tubicles. They are the only part of the whale that is hair. Some other interesting facts that I managed to gather were that the most valuable species at Stellwagen was the bluefin tuna. Apparently they are worth up to thirty thousand dollars. I might have to invest in a small boat and try my luck! I also noted from the various sign boards around the vessel that the finback was the second biggest whale; its diet consists of capeling, herring, sand lance, and squid. The tour guide referred to the finback as the grey hound of whales. This is because of its speed and ‘slickness’. All in all I must admit that the sheer size of these creatures is absolutely mind blowing. These whales appear to be so peaceful and harmless that one cannot imagine why people would want to harm them. Once we arrived back at the dock, we decide to take a tour of the aquarium. The small penguins were very ‘cute’ but I was interested in seeing the shark. After climbing the spiral staircase to the top I gazed down and saw an array of species. I observed sting-rays, turtles, possibly a barracuda, and the shark.

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