July 18, 2015 Whale Watch - Naturalist Krill Carson

We headed to the southern end of Stellwagen Bank and moved into an area where there were at least 10 - 15 humpback whales, 5 - 7 finback whales and a handful of minke whales. Our first sighting was a single humpback who we identified as Ganesh. Ganesh was moving back to the southeast which as the opposite direction we wanted to go, so we left this animal and moved on.

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Ganesh fluking out.

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Ventral tail pattern of Ganesh.

We moved up on a pair of humpbacks and to our delight, realized that one of the animals was Salt, the most famous humpback whale in the world! Salt was the first whale to receive a name and she was named for the white markings on the top of her dorsal fin. Salt was traveling with another humpback that we later identified as Eruption.

 

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Salt.

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Salt and the white scarring on her dorsal fin.

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Salt and Eruption.

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Salt fluking out.

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Salt and Eruption surfacing off our Port side.

Salt always flukes out very high when she dives deep. Today was no exception and that gave us an excellent opportunity to see the black & white pattern on the underside of her tail. This pattern can be used like fingerprint to help biologists and scientists identify over 5, 000 humpback whales that have been seen in the waters of the Gulf of Maine since the mid 1970’s.

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Fluke out dive by Salt.

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Fluke out dive by Salt.

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Fluke out dive by Salt.

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Fluke out dive by Salt. Fluke out dive by Salt.

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Salt surfacing off our bow

We left his pair and picked up a trio of humpbacks that we moving to the northeast. We identified the individuals in this group as Ventisca, Perseid, and Sundown. This trio surfaced just off our starboard bow and really surprised us all.

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Ventisca fluking out.

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Perseid and Ventisca.

Our last sighting was a mother and calf pair. We were able to identify the mom as Apex and we noticed that her calf was very playful at the surface. The calf did a few tail breaches and lobelias to the delight of all onboard. So nice to see mother and calf doing so well.

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Apex surfacing off the bow.

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Apex’s calf fluking out.

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Fluke out by Apex’s calf.

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Lobtail by Apex’s calf.

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Tail breach by Apex’s calf.

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