March

13 March 2013: The sun shone brightly and warmly down today as we began our survey of Cape Cod Bay working from north to south. With high seas states along the eastern outer shore and the first few lines north of the bay everyone in the plane quietly resigned themselves to the idea that this might unfortunately be another one of those not so great days, but the winds decreased and the white caps dissipated making for an all and all very nice day. Our first sighting of a single right whale was in the same area that most of our whales have been concentrating in over the past few weeks. This animal was very evasive and not sighted again. As we continued along the track line we soon came upon two more right whales. These individuals were briefly at the surface and slowly sunk down; both these whales have been identified as adult females. In the same vicinity we also got a quick glimpse of a fin whale. Just to the south of our first sighting we came upon another single individual right whale and a bit to the west another fin whale. The remainder of the bay was slow until we got south and had a group of four right whales in central south bay again diving for long periods of time and with one of them blowing subsurface bubbles. With the long dive times of today’s right whales there is a strong possibility of more whales in the bay that we were unable to find.

18 March 2013: We got an early start with a big day of surveying ahead of us. This day brought the first truly good weather window we have had in quite awhile and based on the long term forecast might get for the next while too. This March has given us a lot of bad weather limiting our ability to survey. With calm seas and even a little sunshine we began a Cape Cod Bay survey starting in the south and working north. The day got off to a good start with a SAG (Surface Active Group) of eight whales on our third track line and then an additional single whale just a little ways away. The central bay was pretty quite with two whales traveling side by side and heading south into the bay. We had one whale near Race Point. After completing the trackline down along the backside we went into Chatham airport for fuel and then headed back out to survey the eastern outer shore working north to south. As soon as we started a small SAG of two whales were sighted. This was made extra exciting because one of the whales was EgNO1719 who was last seen entangled off South Carolina in January 2012. At our sighting she did not have any line remaining on her which was great news. The rest of the survey was much less eventful with only one other right whale sighted on the offshore portion of a line near the end of the survey. Four minke and five fin whales were also sighted during today’s survey.