Friday, August 7, 2015

Seven Seas Whale Watch

I had a day off from work and have been wanting to go on a whale watch, so it was off to Gloucester for an afternoon on the Atlantic!  What a great day!  Beautiful weather, exciting whale sightings, and the birds needed to hit the 200 mark on my year list (my first time reaching this number in a single year).  Bird highlights included Great Shearwater, Cory's Shearwater, Northern Gannet, and Semi-Palmated Plover.

Since I had a little time to kill before the whale watch, I stopped to visit Eastern Point Lighthouse.  I think you'll agree that it was a gorgeous day!

Leaving Gloucester Harbor, we passed the historic Copper Paint Factory.

I was lucky to have even more views of the pretty Eastern Point lighthouse as our boat made its way out of the harbor.

Thomas E. Lannon schooner passing the lighthouse

Our whale watch boat travelled to within sight of Cape Cod before we saw the whales, but what great sightings we had!  Plus, I loved being out on the water, so that was not a problem.

mother and calf together

Thar she blows!
(How could I resist?)

After watching the mother and her calf for a while, the narrator announced there was a group of three whales ahead of us and we were going to move to be near them.  Things got really exciting at this point.  We had just arrived next to the three whales when a fourth whale approached them.  The three whales then proceeded to breach, one at a time, one right after the other, while we all watched with mouths gaping wide open (I know mine was, anyway).  It was amazing!   A breach is like a piece of toast popping out of the toaster.  These huge animals start rising out of the water straight up.  Once they reach a certain point, they then tip over and fall to the ocean's surface with a huge splash.

I will probably never see such a magnificent sight again.  It was very rare and wonderful.  I was in such a state of shock and awe that I only captured a few photos.  I had been so caught up in watching it unfold...

One of the three already falling from its high point!

the mighty splash

and another mighty splash
At least I saw all three with my eyes if not with my camera!


Cory's Shearwater

Bubble feeding whales attract gulls who can also grab at the fish stunned to the surface.

The light was so pretty as the evening drew near, and we headed back towards land.


Boston partially visible in the distance

Eastern Point Lighthouse
(I like the schooner we saw earlier much better than this modern catamaran.)

Cloud iridescence

Beautiful Gloucester (before you could actually smell her)

Still pretty, but now with fish smell

Herring Gulls

While in the parking lot, I noticed this gull with two juveniles begging from her.  You can see there are four legs on the right, even though the second juvenile is hidden by the first.

I had to make a quick stop at Good Harbor Beach before heading home.  There was still plenty of activity there, from people walking dogs, to couples drinking wine, surfers and paddleboarders, people still swimming, at least four volleyball games and more!  

I saw some shorebirds, too!

 Semi-Palmated Plover

Sanderlings and Semi-Palmated Plovers

I was tempted to stay for the sunset, but it had been a long day full of fresh air and I still had the drive home ahead of me.  Farewell, Gloucester!  Thank you for such a wonderful day!

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