We are going on holiday but first an amazing whale watching trip

Position           42:36.64N 070:39.34W

Date                1200 – Sunday 31 July 2011 (UTC -4)

 

After 13 months away we are returning to the United Kingdom for a break, flying out from Boston on Friday 5 August and flying back into Boston on Sunday 4 September.  The boat is being lifted out of the water on Thursday and stored ashore.  The blog will resume in September.

 

Before closing off let me assure you that we have not been sitting around doing nothing since we arrived back in Gloucester, well not all of the time.  General cleaning the boat up and catching up on jobs fills quite an amount of time as does the agony of working out what to take back home that we have not used, mainly a Mate problem and how to get through the remaining stores in the freezer and fridge.  Yesterday for example we polished all of the deck area to restore the shiny bits to their former glory and finished the day off with our last sirloin from Las Palmas on the BBQ.  The sirloins have been more like fillet and this one cooked very well; served sliced with a freshly made béarnaise sauce, very chateaubriand.

 

The real excitement of the week however has been a whale watching trip on Friday.  We have had one sighting of two whales on our way up to Maine but that was a fleeting glimpse of what were undoubtedly fin whales.  We decided that we would like to try and see more so signed up with Captain Bill’s trip that promised two naturalists from the Whale Centre of New England.  The trip was two hours out to the Stellwagen Bank off Cape Cod, an hour on site and two hours back.  No guarantees of a sighting but a free trip if no whales.

 

 

Well the guarantee was not required as we had what was described by the naturist as the best trip of the season.

 

Our first sighting was a humpback called ‘Thumper’, identified by individual markings on her tail flukes.

 

 

She gave a very impressive performance of tail slapping and swam right up alongside the boat.  We were just being told that humpbacks were solitary creatures when over the shoulder of the speaker the middle distance erupted with groups of blowing whales, you could almost hear the whales sniggering.

 

We were then treated to an amazing display with at least 25 whales in different groups performing all of the manoeuvres for which these magnificent animals are known.

 

 

What is difficult to convey in these photographs is the actual size of the animal.  The whale breaching here is probably an adolescent measuring some 40 to 50 feet and weighing about 30 tons.

We had tail and flipper slapping, rolls and plunges.

 

 

As a finale we had the additional treat of a mother and calf with mother demonstrating to her calf how to do the job properly.  You can see the dorsal fin of the calf alongside the breaching mother.

 

 

It was an absolutely amazing experience that lasted well over an hour.  I have some video footage that will remain a treasure and we await the official photo disk of the trip that I am sure will have better images than those taken by me.