Stop, look, listen…

The weather is finally beginning to clear up. Even though it was overcast, the sea was calm and we left the dock at around 0715 with high hopes. We followed some survey track lines for a while without much luck. So we decided to stop and do what’s called a listening station; we stopped the boat, shut off the engine, and simply listened. After 10 minutes or so we finally heard a blow. A whale was somewhere nearby, so now all we needed to do was find it! Everyone looked in the direction of the sound and we waited for the whale to take its next breath while we all held ours. When we finally heard it again, we couldn’t see anything. The overcast sky along with the light drizzle of rain and the fog in the distance were hiding the whale we knew was there. Finally someone saw the flukes of a right whale…good news, and bad. Yes we found the whale, but it was several miles away and it fluked. Usually when a whale shows its flukes as it is diving, it is heading down for a longer dive. For right whales, they usually go down for about 12 minutes on such dives, but the New England Aquarium’s boat the Nereid followed a right whale just a few days ago that was doing over 25 minute dives! We headed in the direction that it went down, but we had lost it.

We started up again and followed more track lines with no success. When we stopped for lunch we shut off the engine and heard another blow. We are quickly learning that sometimes it is better to just sit and be patient, and let the whales come to you! We tried to catch up with it but we only got a few photos of it before it too gave us the slip. At least we finally got to see a right whale up close!

At around 1700 we got a call from a research vessel that tags basking sharks. They had a mom/calf pair! Unfortunately, that mom/calf pair was pretty far away. It took us an hour just to get there and by that time the mom and calf had disappeared. After searching for about an hour, the sun was starting to set and we needed to start heading for shore. We may not have seen many right whales today, but we definitely know they are finally here! The weather looks good for tomorrow, so we will head out again with even higher hopes.

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