Same Place Next Year? Scientists Wonder if Whales Will Be Back

The rare right whales sighted last month off Block Island and off Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have left — but their presence has brought about a shift in thinking in the scientific community.

Last weekend, only one right whale was spotted off the Rhode Island shoreline by the Coast Guard. It is believed the animals have moved to the waters off Chatham or Provincetown and into Cape Cod Bay.

right whale

Huge Group of Rare Whales Off Vineyard

An extraordinary group of right whales — some 95 living specimens of the rarest of all large whale species — was feeding in the waters between Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island this week, while two mother and calf right whale pairs were spotted even closer to the Island.

On Saturday, federal scientists in the air saw one mother and calf pair just a mile or two off Oak Bluffs harbor, and on Tuesday, a distinct pair was spotted in Vineyard Sound.


Young Humpback Whale Pays a Surprise Visit to Edgartown

A juvenile humpback whale that made an errant visit and got stuck in Katama Bay on Sunday afternoon is believed to be okay and swimming the ocean. A group of Islanders, with help from the staff of the New England Aquarium, were able to monitor and eventually see the whale as it swam out into Nantucket Sound late Monday morning.

The 20-foot-plus whale, weighing 10 tons or more, was first spotted on Sunday afternoon by staff of The Trustees of Reservations at Norton Point. At the time it was thought the marine mammal was entangled and in distress in Katama Bay.


Sei Whale Washes Ashore South Beach; Cause of Death Unknown

A dead 40-foot whale washed up at South Beach in Edgartown on Friday. The sei whale may have been killed by a boat propeller.

David Grunden, the Oak Bluffs shellfish constable and member of the Island’s marine mammal stranding network, and his team investigated. Mr. Grunden believes the sei whale probably had been dead for a week or more.

Law to Protect Right Whales May Hamper Ferry Operations

Legislation designed to protect migrating right whales could have an unintended, devastating impact on ferry services to the Vineyard and Nantucket, the Steamship Authority has warned.

Under draft rules attached to the legislation, any sighting of a right whale would trigger the imposition of a strict, 10-knot speed limit on ships more than 65 feet long, operating within a so-called “dynamic management area” with a 36-mile radius, for 15 days from the time of the sighting.

Mystery Mammals

There is a whale of a tale in Edgartown.

Marine mammal madness is what I call it. Earlier this week, I received a call about a few animals that have been swimming around Edgartown harbor. The caller thought that they were either dolphins or pilot whales. Either one would be a good sighting and would make for a nice article.

Right Whales Seen in Waters Off Gay Head

One of the rarest creatures on the earth, the endangered right whale, was seen near the Vineyard Tuesday. The sighting off the Gay Head Cliffs is for the record books, a first for the Vineyard in a long time.

The Northeast Right Whale is one of the world’s most endangered marine mammals, with only slightly more than 300 known to be in existence. One was observed from an airplane while it was feeding.

Two Sea Giants Swim Silently Northward, Their Species Protected and Their Path Free of Bombs

Nuzzling the shoreline with the curiosity and daring that made its ancestors easy prey for whalers, a young right whale is swimming slowly northward along the East Coast toward Martha’s Vineyard. The 20-ton mammal is keeping odd company with a giant sea turtle, and together the silent mammoths have been snooping lazily around Long Island for about two weeks.

In Opportunity of a Lifetime, “Conservation” of Right Whales Recorded in Vineyard Waters

“Cap’n” Seth Wakeman Jr. of Menemsha reports that representatives of the Oceanographic Institution at Woods Hole got “some of the best whale pictures ever taken,” during a recent visit to the Island. In addition to taking still and movie shots, the scientists also had excellent luck in recording the sounds of the whales which have been seen off Menemsha Bight and Gay Head in recent weeks.

Huge White Whale Makes the Woods Hole Passage

A white whale was seen by Capt. Harry L. Peakes last week while running through Woods Hole. The monster, which was of huge size, showed parts of its body several times, exhibiting a skin that was milk white. White whales have been seen around the Cape Cod shores on many occasions in the past, but it has been many years since one was seen this close to the Vineyard.