August 25th, 2013 ~ 12:00 pm Whale Watch - Diane

On this afternoon’s whale watch we headed out of Provincetown on a sunny day without a cloud in the sky. The winds had finally died down from yesterday and we were able to travel through the waters without facing 8-10 foot waves. The calm weather made it a great day for whale watching!  While making our way around Race Point we came across our first sighting. A harbor seal was resting at the surface of the water. One of our passengers pointed out this animal off the right side of the boat.  We watched this animal in passing as we made our way to Stellwagen Bank.

After some time of traveling we saw what we thought was one blow off the bow of the boat. However, as we approached this blow or exhalation, we soon realized that there were two whales. As we approached we noticed that both whales were humpback whales. We noticed that one whale was leaving a rather smaller “footprint” than the other. As both whales surfaced we began to realize that what we were watching was a mother and calf humpback pair!  The pair was identified as Valley and her calf. Valley has a unique dorsal fin, where much of the fin is reduced to resemble nothing like a dorsal fin but more of a large hump.

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The pair was both demonstrating similar behaviors. They both were traveling along the ocean surface and demonstrating fluke out dives. While at the surface, mother and calf were both resting for long periods of time, staying up with us for about 4-5 minutes and continuing to take deep dives for about 5-7 minutes.

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While watching Valley and her calf, we did see a minke whale surface off in the distance. This whale was about 1/2 mile away from our location and was just traveling through the area. We continue to watch Valley and her calf for the remainder of the trip. It was great to see the comparison of body size between the two. Although the calf is less than a year old she was still the size of a smaller fishing vessel nearby! It is remarkable how powerful such a young animal can be!

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We said our goodbyes to Valley and her calf and made our way home towards Provincetown.

~Written by NECWA intern Anna Hoch.