Whale Watching 2015

Our thirteen year old nephew, Mato is visiting us for a week this summer. He had never been out on the ocean before so we decided to go whale watching. We chose to go out of Gloucester on the North end of the Stellwagen Bank, which is a national marine sanctuary. The weather was very good for the trip as both the seas and the wind were light with the temperatures in the seventies. It could get brisk out on deck but it was a very pleasant trip.

On the Ocean


Schooner under sail

We had to travel more than an hour to get to the north end of the Stellwagen Bank. There was a female whale named ‘Firefly’ with a new calf. The calf was still young enough to be nursing and stayed near the surface the whole time (called logging) while the mother dove to feed. The mother did stay close to the calf other than feeding. We learned that the mothers will lose a third of their weight when they calve. We ended up shadowing this pair for most of our time on station. These were the only whales we saw this trip.

Firefly and calf

Thar she blows


The calves darken over time. But at this stage the calf is not as dark as its mom.

sum video




The tail flukes are used to identify specific whales. You can google ‘Humpback Whale Firefly’ and see previous pictures of her. The record was not rich enough for me to track her movements but it was interesting to see what others posted.

FireFly’s Flukes

FireFly’s Flukes

What is distinctive about this whale is that her coloring is mostly dark and killer whales have chewed on her flukes a bit. The dark coloring is more common in Pacific Humpback whales. Only two known humpbacks in the Atlantic have this coloring.

We also saw a shark but it was hard to photograph.


There was also some marine shipping.


More Shipping

We could see the Boston Skyline in transit.

Boston Skyline

We enjoyed some seafood on the way home.

Mark’s Cioppino

Stuffed Shrimp and Cornbread

All in all it was very pleasant day.

Mark, Wink and Mato