Samara breaching in 2012. Photo from Capt John Boats.
How many of my readers have been on a whale watch? Yesterday I participated in my second one in Stellwagen Bank (National Marine Sanctuary) and had a great time. The best part was seeing the six year old humpback whale,Samara. We spotted her throughout the whale watch various times. But, near the end she became very interactive with our boat and she stuck around for a while making “trumpeting” noises to express how excited she had been feeling in our presence. I got a few pictures of her that I’ll be happy to share soon.
Humpback feeding in full view of a whale watch boat. NOAA photo.
Our whale watch on July 14 was the best experience ever! I have never seen a whale so close. Everyone was so amazed to see it swim so close around the boat. I got to look at how big the blowholes in a whale are and it was pretty cool. I also got to see the bottom of the whale’s mouth and how big the flukes were. Samara, a humpback, was really excited and stuck around the boat for a very long time. She kept going from one side of the boat to the other. After a while we had to head back to Plymouth, but I was glad to see at least 3 or 4 whales.
Fin whales lunge feeding. NOAA/NMFS photo.
The apprentices and I took a trip from Plymouth Harbor to go on a whale watch, on July 14. We saw two species of whale: the humpback and the fin whale. One of the whales we saw was a humpback whale named Samara. Samara was a very curious whale which came very close to the boat. The staff on Captain John Boat said that was once-in-a-lifetime type of experience. I also learned from the staff on the boat how to spot a whale.
The Apprentices and I got really lucky yesterday on our whale watch. It was an amazing sighting and a rare one at that. It was personally my first whale watch and I couldn’t have been more satisfied. It was a great feeling to be able to see such majestic and beautiful creature in their natural habitat. It is a bit strange from just seeing the whale skeletons hanging here in the Whaling Museum. All in all yesterday was great. I saw three whales up close and personal and when I say up close, I really mean up close. One of the whales actually came right up to the boat and then under it. The water turned this bright green color whenever the whale was close. Every time someone saw a whale they would yell out a clock-face reference like “whale at 3’o clock.” It was a really cool thing to experience. I’ll never forget it.
Humpback whale, belly up. Photo courtesy of Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
On July 14, I went on my second Whale Watch with the Apprentice program, but it was my third in general. It was surprisingly a beautiful day out on the water, no rain and not a lot of sun. Before we even got to our destination we already saw a whale in the distance. That is a great sign that we are going to have a great trip. Once we hit our destination we found two humpback whales, a mother and calf. Also, there was an unknown whale with them. After spending time with these whales we went off and came across two more whales. They were both humpback whales. Samara was very excited to be around another whale and decided to stick around the boat while the other whale went its own way. Samara decided to put on a show. She would go from one side of the boat to the other just stick her fluke out of the water and pop her head out of the water. This is very rare for a whale to come right up side to the boat like that. So not only were we surprised as a group but the Marine Biologist on board was very excited. This was a exciting moment for me, seeing as how I want to work with whales in my future.
Breaching humpback whale. NOAA/Doug Perrine photo.
Inside the State Pier during the visit of the Charles W. Morgan. Kids Zone can be seen in the back.
The beginning of my summer semester as an Apprentice at the Whaling Museum started off with working at State Pier when the Charles W. Morgan arrived on June 28, it left on July 8. The other Apprentices and I had many activities set up at our station, which was the Kid’s Zone. One of the activities that was located at the Kids Zone was Origami which consisted of whales, fish, frogs, boats and flowers. We also had Scrimshaw which kids really enjoyed; it was also one of my favorites. Kids really enjoyed all the activities we had, especially the Origami. According to Mystic Seaport and their staff, we had more than 40,000 people come to see the Charles W. Morgan.
Closeup view of people in attendance at the dedication of the Gosnold Memorial, September 3, 1903.
I’ve had an amazing time working at the State Pier while the Charles W. Morgan was docked there. It was honestly such an enriching experience to be able to see the ship first hand, something many people would kill to have the opportunity for. I guess that’s just one of the many perks I get for being a New Bedford Whaling Museum Apprentice. I also enjoyed working with the public, seeing how excited people were for the Charles W. Morgan’s homecoming was unforgettable. People not only from New Bedford but from all over was truly a great heart-warming thing.
Tuesday, July 8 was also a very memorable day. Brian, my fellow apprentices, and I all took the ferry to Cuttyhunk Island where we did a little landscaping at the Gosnold Monument. The monument is part of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society collections. It was definitely a first for me, but still somewhat enjoyable. It was nice to get down and dirty to do some hands on work. Since the summer has started the Museum has kept me extremely busy and I have no complaints. I can’t wait to see what’s up next.