Jump to content
NSPN Message Board
Joseph Berkovitz

Right whales off Devereux beach

Recommended Posts

The last few days have seen a bunch of right whales playing around Marblehead. It’s been widely reported. I have been away in Maine and just came back to hear the news — drove down to Devereux Beach, and promptly saw a whale (through binoculars)! It looked to be somewhere between Tinkers and the Great Pigs. 

I had my boat on the car by coincidence, but I guess one isn’t supposed to approach right whales too closely, or maybe at all. So I didn’t go out. Anyway it was cool to see one so close to home. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right whales can be distinguished from other whales we might see  around here (humpback, fin, minke, pilot  whales)  because they have no dorsal fin:  So, if you see a whale above the surface  with no dorsal fin -   it appears as  one big black mound or blob, its likely to be a right whale. It would be a special treat to see them in this area!
 Right whales are also slower swimmers: fin  whales, minke whales, and pilot whales are generally feeding on the move , and right whales move  more slowly or loll about . So if you see a slow moving black  blob or mound on the ocean , its more likely to be a right whale.   Humpback whales loll about too but their appearance is noticeably different, very long pectoral fins and sharper snout, and more dramatic when surfacing and breaching.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I admit that I didn't check too carefully besides Wikipedia, and just reproduced the statement by a local reporter that it was a right whale.

However... this whale does conform to the points you gave: no dorsal fin, big lumpy blobby head, slow-swimming with head tilted up at 30-45 degrees, follows a meandering, wandering path.  Also I have seen humpbacks, minkes and fins on other occasions and this definitely didn't seem like any of them.

I saw it (or, at least, an identical looking whale) again this morning east of Tinkers, visible from Marblehead Neck. So it (they) seem to be hanging around the neighborhood for a while.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the subject of cetaceans,  we had a very close 'swim-by' from 3 porpoises in Gloucester harbor on Sunday - a real thrill 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On Saturday  five of us paddled from Riverhead Beach out to Tinkers Island and back in search of right whales, but we didnt see any that day . Nevertheless we had a nice sunny-weather outing , and had some fun amidst the rocks and ledges along Marblehead neck.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What’s the ‘whale welfare’ advice on this.  If you’re paddling and get an unintended close encounter with a whale, that must be fabulous.  But if (as discussed here) you see a whale and jump in your boat to paddle near it, is that ok? Does this alarm or distress the animal?  What is a safe distance? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×