April 8 – April 14, 2023 

Week Twelve of our 32nd Season

This year Aquatic Adventures embarks on its 32nd season of providing our guests the unique opportunity to encounter the North Atlantic humpback whales on their breeding and calving grounds, the Silver Bank. As the season unfolds, we’ll highlight some of the various encounters and experiences of our guests each week. We hope you enjoy following along!

The season comes to a close with this final 2023 trip out to the Silver Bank. At the end of this week we will pack up our tenders for the twelfth time this year and make our final transit home. As the humpback whales leave their most southern mating and calving grounds, they will continue to pass through the Silver Bank well after we have gone. The whales will make their long migration up along the east coast of North America to destinations like Stellwagen Bank, Newfoundland and as far north as Norway. We will reluctantly leave as well, migrating back to our respective homes with some fantastic memories of the season to share with family and friends. But first we have one more week on the Bank to enjoy the company of these incredible mammals and a new group of guests to share our passions with.

Just like the previous weeks, we had some amazing encounters. Calves are now grown after being here for multiple weeks and come barreling towards us, showing off and breaching. The number of individuals in the rowdy groups have increased with the fewer females in the area, so high energy surface activity is plentiful and the guests take advantage of this for topside photography. Coming back to the main ship for lunch on our last day, we spotted some odd splashing up ahead. There wasn’t any evidence of a blowhole, fluke or dorsal. When the tender approached the turbulent water, streaks of grey and blue went zipping by. A pod of 20 or more bottlenose dolphins were playing with each other and now circling our tender. We slowed down and guests entered the water; the dolphins stayed and played with the guests for a time before taking off to their next adventure. Encounters with dolphins on the Silver Bank is not entirely all that rare, but to have them stick around and play was quite a unique experience. 

Every week on the trip home, the crew spends time asking for fluke shots and favorite memories. This season we successfully captured 95 fluke shots and positively ID’d many of those from the Gulf of Maine and Newfoundland population with the help of the Center for Coastal Studies and some from our own Silver Bank catalog. Some of the favorite memories of our guests this week included swimming with humpbacks directly off the stern of the main ship, driving alongside a high energy rowdy group and being in the water when a mother and calf did a double breach just a few hundred feet away!

It has been an amazing season with incredible encounters, some breathtaking experiences, delicious food and new friends. It’s always a little bittersweet this last trip out, but the crew have spent three months away from home and look forward to returning to family and friends. We will miss the whales. Some of us will migrate north with them and get our fix by whale watching off the coast of California, Nova Scotia and Cape Cod. Others of us will travel completely different directions and look forward to returning next season to reunite with our favorite large marine mammals and we urge you to join us! For every season and every day on the Silver Bank is a new grand adventure that’s waiting for you! 

The Aquatic Adventures team hopes that you are as inspired as we are to help sustain the humpback whale population. Through our partnership with the Center for Coastal Studies, we are helping to gain critical information on these charismatic creatures, and to seek ways to protect and preserve them. To find out more about this effort, join their mailing list or to make a donation, large or small, please visit: www.coastalstudies.org/aquaticadventures

We are proud to support SeaLegacy in their efforts to create powerful media to change the narrative around our world’s oceans. Their mission is to inspire the global community to protect our oceans. To learn more about SeaLegacy and help with this important mission, please visit: https://www.sealegacy.org

Thanks to all who have generously donated!

Learn more about Aquatic Adventures here.

Written by: Aquatic Adventures team member Gillian Morin
Edited by: Aquatic Adventures team member Heather Reser 

Images: Aquatic Adventures and Christine Oliver