SEA Currents: SEASCape
July 17, 2017
This morning we woke up bright and early to a breakfast of English muffins. At 7:30, we boarded the school bus and embarked on the hour long journey to Plymouth where we were scheduled to go whale watching.
The boat was large and crowded, but our hopes were high and we enjoyed looking out at the vast and open ocean. After an hour of sailing to our destination, we came to an abrupt stop where we saw several humpback whales. Humpback whales are between 35 and 55 feet long, so seeing these massive creatures ride in and out of the waves made our respect for the ocean and its ecosystems greater than it had been when we arrived in Woods Hole two weeks ago.
As we approached the whales, we learned that every individual is identified by their tail pattern and are often named after what it resembles. For instance, Hancock was named for the signature-like pattern on the bottom of her tail. We also learned that humpbacks have recently been taken off the endangered species list. At first, we thought that this meant good things for the species, but then realized that some of the restrictions that protected them before have been lifted, leaving them vulnerable.
We experienced spectacular, close-up views of the whales, and even got to see the mothers with their calves. Near the end of our tour, we saw a baby seal at the surface, scavenging for plankton. For many, this was the highlight of the trip.
Following our tour, we were given time to explore Plymouth and its unique history, as well as its retail. While some people visited the ~iconic~ Plymouth rock, others shopped the cute souvenir stores lining the harbor, while still others slept on benches in the park.
Overall, it was an exciting day of first-hand experience in observing marine mammals. It was an adventure none of us will forget.
- Pippa & Mairead