Vineyard Gazette
“Cap’n” Seth Wakeman Jr.
Right whales
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Bruce Brooks
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.
Right whales
Sea turtles
Marine Mammal Protection Act
Mark Alan Lovewell
One of the rarest creatures on the earth, the endangered right whale, was seen near the Vineyard Tuesday.
Right whales
National Marine Fisheries Service


Herman Melville didn’t mince words when it came to the sperm whale. With emphasis, he explained “I tell you, the sperm whale will stand no nonsense.” And it didn’t ­— since we know it as the creature that sank the whaleship Essex in the real-life tragedy that was the inspiration for Moby Dick.

Yes, I am writing about whales that were not seen from the Island!

In waters about 30 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, a whale not seen in the region for more than two centuries was spotted from the skies last week by scientists with the New England Aquarium.

The rope embedded in the tail of a dead young right whale that washed up on the Vineyard last month is consistent with buoy lines used by trap fishermen in Maine.

Tribal leadership maintains it has aboriginal rights to any dead whales that beach along the shores of Noepe — the Wampanoag name for Martha’s Vineyard. Retaining that right has remained a priority for members, who have traditionally made use of whale meat, fat, bones and baleen.

The 3-year-old female whale was seen entangled in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in August 2022, and attempts to free it off Cape Cod last year were unsuccessful, according to the New England Aquarium.