Saturday, August 7, 2010

Whale Watching

Our last day of class started pretty good, the weather was beautiful probabli 80-85 degrees out. There was a weird smell on the air or the water, probably because the water was dirty because of the rain on the night before. The lines to get on the boat to watch the whales was so long that we thought we were never going to fit in the boat, but there was plenty space. Its unbelievable how many people gather together to see such beautiful mammals of the ocean. The trip to get there in the boat was pretty long, heading towards the atlantic ocean. We finally stopped at Stellwagen Bank. I was so excited to get to see the whales, finally some started to come up the surface, the only parts of the whales we got to see were: The Tale, Blowholes and the Dorsal Fin. It was very hard to see them, but just seeing part of them was very exciting because they are so big. I just wish i could see more of them, they are such beautiful creatures. We saw 3 different types of whales the Fin whale, the humpback whale and the minke whale (Source: Scientist of the boat). It was very hard to see any difference between these 3 different types of whales because the whales didnt came up to the surface so much.
Some fact about whales: (Source: New England Aquarium Boat Scientist)
Like all mammals, whales breathe air, nurse their young with milk (very high in fat %), and have body hair. You can also see some barnacles attached to the whales 9which i dodnt like because those are hard and sharp and it seem that it would hurt to have them attaches to your body). Some species, such as the humpback whale, communicate using sounds, that sometimes can be very load.
Reproduction: The female delivers usually a single baby-first to minimize the risk of drowning. They nurse for about 1 year, which develops a strong bond between the mother and her child. The whales we saw were females with their baby (which was a huge baby), it was so cute to see how the insticts of a whale mother watching over her baby are soo similar to human moms instincs. The father of the baby whale does not take any part on the raising of the baby.
Feeding habits:
Whales generally plants to very large animals. they are very loyal animals and come back every season to eat in this area of massachusetts, its a very long trip for them. Whales travel to cold waters for feeding; they go to warmer waters to give birth. This fact was so interesting to me, because i always wondered why water here in boston is so cold, but now i know that whales as me rather warmer water (hahahha).
About 100 humpback whales arrive on Stellwagen Bank, off Massachusetts, in the spring to feed on slender, five-inch-long fish called sand launce. The Dominican Republic has made these whales' birthing grounds on Silver Banks. After giving birth during the winter or early spring, mothers bring their calves to the rich feeding grounds of Stellwagen Bank or other parts of the Gulf of Maine. Like all mammals, the mothers nurse their young. A 10-15 foot baby humpback may nurse as long as a year, adding up to 15 feet in length each month. An adult humpback may grow to be up to 50 feet long. (Source: Golf of maine research institute)
Overall, i really enjoy this class, as you all may know i was very scared of this class since science has never been my strengh. I enjoy our visits to the islands in the Boston Harbor and every thing i learned from it, i feel that ive expanded my knowledge in regards to the ocean and its creatures. Today at work, i saw a customer with a t-shirt that said "stripped bass fishing in Cape Cod", it felt so good to know that i knew a lot about that species and probaly before if i saw that same t-shirt it woulndt make a difference to me and today it did! This class open my eyes to a whole different perpective of the oceans, its waters and the beautiful creatures that live there. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us and for your amazing efforts to save the Boston Harbor, so people like us can enjoy it.!!
Vania Barraza.

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