Whale watching in Massachusetts Bay

Back in 2004, my parents took me and my younger brother on a road trip through the most northern parts of Sweden and all the way up to Narvik in Norway. I’ve a lot of great memories from that trip; my brother swimming in the Norwegian Sea and a bunch of porpoise passed next to him (me of course freaking out at first thinking it was sharks), eating hot dogs on a beach which was all covered with jelly fish and the sun which never seemed to set. The most memorable moment of the trip was of course the whale safari we went on. We saw plenty of sperm whales; diving and splashing water next to the vessel. Dad even lent me the camera and I took tons of pictures, which all unfortunately got destroyed on the way back because my brother though it was a great idea to take the film out and play with it in the sun.
Nevertheless, on my trip to Boston, MA last week I got a new chance to get some shots of these magnificent creatures, which I would love to share with you.

So, on October 30th I went on the 12 pm tour, which is operated by Boston Harbour Cruises and the New Hampshire Aquarium, where a naturalist will be joining as tour guide. The cruise takes between 3-4 hours and an adult ticket is $49.00, however if you’re thinking of visiting the aquarium you might as well buy a combo ticket for $68.95.

Skyline of Boston, MA.

It took us about an hour to get far enough from the coastline to spot our first whale. In the horizon we could see water and mist burst towards the sky, just like a small size fountain. However, our guide said we should continue on since he had reports about a smaller group, just five more minutes east. We continued, and this time I first spotted a flock of seagulls circulating the water surface. Next thing I know, one humpback whale appeared up through the water’s surface. So cool!

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First humpback whale we saw.
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Humpback whale about to dive.

The reason for why the birds flocculate the whales is that they actually steal fish from them. Humpback whales hunts by diving to the ocean floor where they start to chase fish and plankton, forcing them to the surface where they then will feed on them as well swallow a great amount of salt water. On the way back down again they infiltrate the water out. Moreover, the whales can also start to blow bubbles by the surface, which will attract smaller fish. This will cause so-called “whale prints”, green areas of oxidative water where on can see where the whales have operated. Fascinating, right?

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Two humpback whales. The whales got their name because of the “humps” you easily can spot around the whales’ mouth. They’re in fact hair sacs, just as big as a human fist.
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Two swimming whales. You can here see their small fins.
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Humpback whale.
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Watching the whales. In the foreground you can see the “whale print”

We stayed out with the whales for about an hour. They usually spend a maximum of 45 minutes with them, since they don’t want to influence these animals more than they already do. This makes total sense since we’re the ones going into their natural habitat and three quarters of an hour is plenty of time to watch these beautiful mammals.

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Diving into the sea again.
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