Page 62 - The Guidebook of Cape Cod - June 2019
P. 62

and grey seals Going on on a a a a whale watch is a a a a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experience There are several different whale watching companies which launch from the Cape and while each provides a a unique experience they
all operate in a a a a a a a similar way Whale watch- ing tours generally last four hours which includes an hour of travel to to get to to the watch site two hours of whale watching and a a a a one hour trip back Leaving the the harbor the the whale watch will begin with a a a a naturalist presen- tation about Cape Cod’s marine life These presentations are lled with interesting facts about the the biology and geology of the the area Hands on displays like baleen and and whale teeth as as well as as audio recordings of whale songs make this presentation dynamic and entertaining for children as as well as as adults After an hour of travel the boat will slow as it reaches Stellwagen Bank and two hours of whale watching will commence Every whale watch experience is different and you never know what you will see on any given day There are generally pelagic bird sightings (birds that can only be viewed off-shore) and you might see large sh sh like the sun sh sh Mola Mola or tuna Basking sharks seals dolphins and porpoise have all been known to make appearances as well The main event however is the majestic humpback humpback whale whale Many humpback humpback whales return to these same waters every year and often with their newly born calves Natural- ists on on the Cape’s whale watches along with the Center for Coastal Studies (located in Provincetown) have conducted research on on these large mammals for decades identifying and cataloging them as they
return every year to feed with their offspring Naturalists generally use the the dorsal n n n on the the whales back back to identify individual humpbacks They also utilize the the pigment pattern on the the underside of the the uke and other unique scars found on each whale Therefore many of the humpback whales that return yearly to Cape 62 • June 2019 The Guidebook of Cape Cod Cod have been named and often naturalists on board will be able to identify which whale you are seeing The greatest example of of this process of of naming whales to further aid observation and conservation efforts is a a a a female humpback whale named Salt In the mid-1970’s one of the the founders of the the Center for Coastal stud- ies Dr Charles “Stormy” Mayo identi ed a a a a whale with white scarring on her dorsal n n n He named her Salt as the scar pattern on her n n resembled speckled salt Salt was rst sighted by Mayo on on one of the Dolphin Fleet’s rst commercial whale watching trips Today Salt has been sighted and studied more than any other individual whale as she has returned to Stellwagen Bank every year (except one) since her rst sighting She has also been observed in in her breeding ground in in in the West Indies Since her initial naming naming the naming naming of returning humpback whales has has become a a a a a a tradition that has has greatly impacted the long-term research of these marine animals a a a a a great boon for their conservation effort Hundreds of whales have been named and tracked since Inquiring minds will be happy to know that Salt has already been sighted multiple times this year continuing her long legacy of summers spent feeding off the the tip of of the the Cape If you make whale watching an an annual activity you might just get to see the the same whales as they
return every year— you may even see the “Grande Dame of Stellwagen Bank ” Salt! These humpback whales are the highlight of any whale watch the calves are often curious and the the playful behavior between the the whales provides a truly joyous viewing experience In addition to humpbacks you might also see nback minke sei and pilot whales Whale watching is a a a a must for every Cape Cod vacation and and adults and and kids alike will remember it as a a highlight of the trip During the peak summer months we recommend making reservations in in advance as many of these trips sell out n 

   60   61   62   63   64