The Humpbacks of Cape Ann

Today we travelled up to the town of Gloucester, on Cape Ann, to take a whale watching trip. My expectations for seeing, and particularly photographing, whales weren’t particularly high, as my last whale watching experience in Vancouver a few years ago involved one rather distant whale sighting and a lot of photos of grey sea with a tiny fin in the middle.

We set off in the middle of the day, after taking a walk around the town. Given the heat of the day, it was very pleasant to feel the sea breeze, so the hour spent motoring out to the area where we hoped to find the whales was very relaxing. In what seemed like no time at all, we were slowing for our first sighting – a fin whale. These are the second largest whales and can grow up to 80ft long. Another, rather more elusive fin whale later, we were treated to a spectacular display by a pod of about 40-50 atlantic white sided dolphins. Travelling alongside the boat, some as close as a metre of two, the dolphins jumped together. Beautiful to watch, rather harder to photograph!

The grand finale of the trip were the humpback whales. All together we saw over 10 whales in a number of different areas. The whales were feeding using a technique called bubble feeding – the green patches of bubbles in the water were very easy to spot, and gave us a good idea where the whales would surface. As the whales stayed close to the ship, we really had incredible views.

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