It is supposed to be crisp and clear here on Cape Cod in mid-October; the 22nd however was clear, hot, sunny, and windless. It was glorious summer day for those who like summer. I was working (certainly not very hard work) a whale boat for NECWA (Google it, support it) out of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Krill Carson organizes an all-day outing twice a year to get 100 of her friends and supporters out on the water. It is ostensibly a fund-raiser, but generally we see it as a fun-raiser. Eight hours on a fast boat doing the bidding of 100 naturalists is as good as it gets.
We saw five species of whale (the larger ones; Minke, Humpback, Fin), two smaller toothed whales (Common Dolphin and Harbor Porpoise), two seals (Gray and Harbor), three species of sparrows (really!), and lots of seabirds (Great, Manx, Sooty, and Cory’s Shearwater as well as Fulmar and Razorbill). Of course there were lots of gulls but Black-legged Kittiwake and Bonaparte’s Gull were the only non-breeders. We missed Sabine’s, Lesser Black-backed, and Little Gull – can’t have everything I guess.
One of the highlights was seeing a Mola Mola or Ocean Sunfish. This is a big parrot-headed fish; actually it is pretty much only head, floated/swam right along the side of our boat. We had close up looks at a pretty good-sized one. Krill is trying to do research on Mola Mola but as it is not endangered, very heavy, and oceanic she is pretty much limited to dead fish and a limited number of colleagues with whom to consult. She is also collecting data on Basking Sharks – NECWA (please Google it) is doing what it can to get information and people interested in these lesser known species.
OK – now please go and Google NECWA and learn of their activities, interests, and needs. Thank You.
Incidentally, we were on the Privateer IV, a boat operated by 7 Seas Whale Watch in Gloucester, MA and our Captain was terrific (Jay Frontierro)
The next blog page will be from the same day and deal a bit with the Humpback Whales and a few of the sea birds that we came across.