2012 June 15, Friday
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Gulf of Maine
The cold waters of the Atlantic off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the Gulf of Maine are the place to be in summer, if you're a humpback whale, or a finback or a minke whale. And evidently also if you're a basking shark, leatherback sea turtle, or great white shark! The birds know it -- they follow the humpback whales and feast on the small fish and sand eels that the whales bring to the surface. Fishermen know it -- they are there to catch huge tuna, lobster, and other fish. And some very special other people know it -- biologists who devote their lives to studying these magnificent animals and who spend their summers ascertaining the health and status of individual whales as well as entire populations of whales, sharks, and turtles...
Today was Day One of what would be nine amazing days of flying "low and slow" documenting the activities of humans and animals alike in these waters, finding and identifying individual whales from the air, and searching for whales and turtles entangled in fishing gear or otherwise in distress. In this and the ensuing articles, we'll keep the verbiage to a minimum and just share with you these awesome sights. Scientists who are working hard to keep track of the individual humpback and fin whales have been studying these photos and comparing with photos taken from daily whale-watching boats. Some days we had little success identifying individuals; other days, like our last day there, the awesome biologist flying with us identified individual eight humpback whales from the air, several of whom had not yet been seen and whose status had been the subject of considerable concern!
Read the article and see the photos and videos here!