August 21st, 2013 ~ 12:00 pm Whale Watch - Tiffany

Yesterday on our 12 noon whale watch we headed out to the east side of Stellwagen Bank.  While traveling to the east we came upon a small basking shark swimming off our starboard side.

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This animal was swimming quite fast at the surface.  All we could see from the vessel was the shark’s dorsal fin and caudal fin trailing behind.  This shark was probably feeding; filtering plankton (small drifting organisms) out of the ocean.  Basking sharks are the second largest sharks, just smaller to the whale shark.  After a few minutes the shark disappeared from the surface so we pushed out of the area.  After traveling a little longer to the east, our Captain Jonny spotted a blow in the distance!  This was a great sign!!  We pushed in closer to the area and up ahead we saw a whale resting at the ocean surface.

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This whale was logging (the resting behavior of whales) at the ocean surface.  Whales do not sleep the way humans sleep because whales are voluntary breathers, meaning they need to think about each breath that they take.  So they lay horizontally at the ocean surface and one hemisphere of their brain sleeps and the other hemisphere of their brain reminds them to take the next breath.

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While we were just drifting next to this humpback whale we had AMAZING views of this whale.  With the animal just laying at the ocean surface it allowed us to get a grasp of how large these whales actually are.  We also had very calm water and could see right through.

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Just by looking at the whales uniquely shaped dorsal fin we were also able to tell that we were watching a humpback whale named Scylla.  After a few more minutes of resting at the surface Scylla then arched her back, lifted her fluke high out of the water and headed down for a dive.  As Scylla dove it took a while to lose sight of her glowing white pectoral flippers as she headed down deep in the water column.

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We also spend a few minutes with a male humpback named Mogul before we had to start heading back to Provincetown.

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