We recently calculated that our team members have spent a combined 100 years(!) on the water studying marine mammals, and they never cease to delight and surprise us. While North Atlantic right whales are our focus, we are still collecting data on other species. On the morning of August 14, two separate species put on a show for us. First up, was a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins who joined us for a bow-ride (surfing the wave created off the bow of a moving boat) which was made even cooler by the clarity of the water.

White-sided dolphins bow riding

Soon afterwards, we came upon a group of three logging (resting at the surface) humpback whales, who we identified as Partition, Ridgeline, and Squiggle. As we watched, a fourth interloper came along, known as Blanco, and startled them awake, causing the sleepy trio to breach simultaneously! Amy K. caught it on video- check it out!

Three logging humpbacks prior to breaching. Photo: Marianna Hagbloom/ACCOL.
Breaching together! Photo: Amy Warren/ACCOL.

Trio of Breaching Humpbacks

This encounter was amazing to observe and delighted our veteran group of whale biologists to no end. It also highlights the best part of our field work: the ocean is full of surprises and you never know what you might witness every time you leave the dock.

Photo: Amy Warren/ACCOL.
Photo: Marianna Hagbloom/ACCOL.

This work is made possible in part by the generosity of Irving Oil, lead sponsor of the New England Aquarium’s North Atlantic Right Whale Research Program.