Sunday, August 17, 2014

Captain John Whale Watching Trip

Today I went on the Forbush Bird Club's annual pelagic trip on the 9AM Captain John Whalewatching Trip out of Plymouth, MA.  Usually, I take whale watches with Seven Seas out of Gloucester, so this was a new port and harbor and scenery.   The boat was crowded with lots of tourists and vacationers, so I didn't end up sitting with anyone from the club.  After a little over an hour in the sun, I ended up spending the rest of the boat ride on the lower deck in the shade.

We had some nice whale sightings, in particular a calf and its mother (humpback whales) and several greyhound buses of the Atlantic (finback whales).  The boat's primary whale destination was just off the end of Cape Cod.

Laughing Gull

On our way out of the harbor, we passed the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock.

 Mayflower II replica

Plymouth Rock (It's in that cage below ground.)

It was funny to listen to the tourists try to figure out where Plymouth Rock was after it was announced that we were passing by on the PA system.

We also passed some beaches that are only accessible with four wheelers or by boat.  There happened to be lots of shorebirds on them.  They were just out of reach optically (for me anyway) for ID purposes.

Gurnet Lighthouse


The ocean was really calm, and I thought this view was just stunning.  There wasn't a lot of color contrast between the sky and the ocean at all....

One of the most thrilling sightings on this trip was when I was on the lower deck and I looked down in the water and there was a shark right next to the boat.  It was resting on the surface of the water, but as the boat passed by, it rolled and swam away.  I wish I had the presence of mind to snap a photo, but I just stared at it while I had the chance!


I don't recall them specifying what type of Shearwater this was, so I'm going to guess that it is a Cory's Shearwater.  I am not sure though.

Humpback Whale Tail!

This was a mother/calf pair that we watched for quite some time.  The naturalist told us that the calf was nursing when they were underwater, and they knew this because it was switching sides.

Thar she blows!

Common Tern

Everyone hoped for a tail photo!  I am not thrilled with any of the ones I got, but it was fun trying!

They announced some Northern Gannets were flying by.  I'm not sure if this is it, but I think it is.

Finback Whale
(the Greyhound bus of the Atlantic)

They are the 2nd largest whale of the Atlantic Ocean.  Small fin, and they don't have the big showy dives, but what a huge mammal!

Once we saw the Finback Whales, we headed right back to the dock.  This trip went by fast!

Duxbury Pier Light
(Look at the amount of boat traffic we were in!)

just a few Double-Crested Cormorants

and another

Drying its wings

and another
I love this look at its webbed feet!

Mayflower II

Laughing Gull

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