Monday, August 29, 2015 Whale Watch - Naturalist Carly Hepburn

Great Shearwater.

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Ventral tail pattern of Echo.

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Ventral tail pattern of Venom. The right tip of her flukes is missing.We made our way out of Provincetown Harbor, around the Cape and quickly picked up 2 humpback whales that were resting at the surface. These animals appeared to be logging which is a resting behavior when a whale shuts off half of their brain and the other half remains alert.  We were able to identify these individuals as Venom and Echo.  After watching these animals for a few surfaces, we decided to move on and head into an area where our captain had reports of a mother and calf pair.

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Blue shark.

As we made our way into that area we were able to come across a very exciting sight, a blue shark!  This was my first every sighting of a blue shark and it was quite incredible to see such good looks of this animals swimming just under the surface of the water.  Blue sharks are found worldwide but are typically only seen by divers because they are known to stay in deeper water.   They can grow to lengths of about 12 feet and are feeding on lobster, shrimp, small fish, and sometimes even seabirds.  We got good looks of this shark moving very slowly on the right hand side but surprisingly some experts believe they can reach speeds of 60 mph!

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Humpback surfacing with P’town in the background.

Our next sighting was of 3 humpback whales that including the mother and calf pair.  We were able to identify these 3 as Hancock, Hancock’s 2015 calf, and Perseid.  We watched this trio for a long time and even got to see a great look at the Hancock’s calf head or rostrum. There were a lot of recreational boats in the area so we decided to move on a find another sighting.

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Hancock and calf.

We were able to pick up the 2 humpback whales that we sighted earlier in our trip, Echo and Venom.  This time Echo and Venom came closer to the boats and we were able to get great looks of the underside of their fluke before we headed back home.

Hancock and calf.

Hancock and calf.

Before heading home, we stopped on one more pair which we identified as Nile and Pitcher. Both whales have very hooked dorsal fins, but Nile has a white spot on the right side of her dorsal fin. This makes it easy for us to identify her, even at a distance.

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Nile and Pitcher.

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