#15: A window...Finally!

The recent north winds blew out the fog and then calmed down nicely this morning, giving us our first good weather window in two weeks. Excited to be out on the water again, we awoke at 4:15 this morning to check the weather, put on lots of layers, ate breakfast and loaded the boat with equipment. By 5:30 we were off the dock and headed out to find the whales!

We went to the eastern part of the Bay as we had heard that whales were recently seen there. After a few hours of surveying we found our first whale and quickly began to see others. As we photographed each whale, we would head over to photograph the next one that surfaced and soon found ourselves so far east that we were sitting in the middle of the outbound shipping lane! Keeping a keen eye out for ships (although we didn't see any all day) so we could be quick to move out of their way, we photographed four mother and calf pairs and six other individuals. Four of these individuals were involved in a surface active group (SAG). See SAG video here and here.

We photographed the whales as they energetically rolled and twisted around each other. The female in the SAG was a well known whale named Morse (go to the right whale catalog and search for #1608). Morse was born in 1986 and was given her name because a few white scars on her head reminded researchers of Morse code. After a good day with the whales, it will be a quite night at the Whale House as we all head to bed early in hopes that we will be woken by a subtle knock and the words "we're good to go."

We were able to get out on the water today for a brief window. Here is some footage of researchers Yan, Dan, Cyndi, Monica and Erin Burke (Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries) hard at work documenting a mother and calf pair. The mom's name is Arpeggio (go to the right whale catalog and search for #2753). Listen and look closely and you will hear the sounds of camera shutters clicking as researcher describe the scene and see the distinctive propeller scar on the right flank of Arpeggio.Photo of Morse (EG #1608) taken by Erin Burke.
Video of Arpeggio (EG #2753) and her calf taken by Jonathan Cunha.

- Cyndi/Jonathan

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