October 5, 2018
The Whale That Made History
- as seen by -Megan Maher
After some unseasonably hot August weather, at least by Maine standards, we finally had a beautiful day to enjoy all that a Boothbay Harbor whale watch could offer. We set out at 9:30 in the morning hoping that the marine life, including any whales that had not left the Gulf of Maine for the season, would be more active than elusive.
After three and a half hours out on the open ocean, we had seen a pod of white-sided dolphins, but no whales. They had not surfaced for air or to feed anywhere near our boat.
We headed back and suddenly felt our vessel gaining speed. There was a report of a whale close to the docks in Boothbay Harbor. Would this be our chance to see one? For nearly 30 minutes, we moved quickly past sunfish, sea birds, and more dolphins hoping to catching a glimpse of an ocean giant.
Once we entered the harbor, our boat slowed down. There were excited cries all around as a humpback whale surfaced to feed near Tumbler Island. Our guide described the water depth as 50 feet — about the same size as a humpback.
She said we were seeing history in the making. This was the first time a humpback whale had been spotted this far into Boothbay Harbor. As the whale followed the fish to feed, it seemed to be on a watch itself popping up only a few feet from a boat dock to breathe.
EDITOR’S NOTE: By comparing photographs of whale fluke markings, Boothbay Harbor Whale Watch determined this same whale spent several weeks close to the Maine shore to feed.