July 26, 2014

Our sightings this past week have varied in regard to the number of whales we have seen during our trips, as they have been a bit more spread out than they had been the week prior. We have typically been seeing 3-8 whales depending on the day, and many have been different individuals than last week.

We have been watching a humpback whale, Northstar for most of our trips in the last few days. Northstar was recently reported with an injury on its back. Unfortunately, it seems as though this whale is another example of one threat that many marine animals encounter- ship strikes. There are a number of whales in the Gulf of Maine who have scars from collisions with boats and propellers, but it sometimes is easy to lose sight of what that really means. When we see a whale who has injuries that were recently acquired, it really does illustrate the danger posed to these animals. We are hoping Northstar will make a full recovery and will update further if we see this whale throughout the season.

An injury to Northstar's back, possibly due to a collision with a boat.

An injury to Northstar’s back, possibly due to a collision with a boat.

Northstar was swimming alongside Hippocampus. We watched these two whales during both our morning and afternoon trips, along with another group of whales who were nearby (Nile and calf with Perseid and calf). We returned to the same spot during the afternoon and began with the two mothers and the young whales. As we approached we noticed both calves being very surface active- a few breaches, rolling over, and tail breaching. Shortly after we arrived Nile’s calf provided an absolutely unbelievable breach just yards away. Interns Morgan, Andrea, and I were talking afterward about our ability to see clearly underneath this young whale. Such a fun trip to be on!

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