March 2 – March 9, 2024 

Week 7 of our 33rd Season

This year Aquatic Adventures embarks on its 33rd 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!

There seems to be a four year cycle when it comes to seasons that are abundant with mothers and calves. When a female becomes pregnant here on the Silver Bank, it then travels north for a feeding season before coming back down to the Silver Bank almost a year later to give birth. That calf will then spend a few months preparing for the long migration north, sometimes almost up to 3000 km. Once on the feeding grounds, the calf will continue to grow and learn until, if female, four years later her hormones change and she is ready to mate. The whale, who is no longer a calf, will migrate back down to the Silver Bank. These humpback whales have maternally directed fidelity, a natural occurrence where as adults they will find their own way back to the calving and mating grounds where they were once born. After four years pass, the calf that is now a fully grown adult is back on the mating grounds looking for a mate herself, and the process starts over again. Perhaps it’s this four year cycle of sexual maturity which is giving us the abundance of mothers and calves that we are seeing this season. 

The first morning of this week, the guests on one of the tenders were in with a total of five mother and calf pairs. That same day, later in the afternoon, we came across a calf that was clearly a few weeks old, with a bent dorsal fin and very light grey coloring. It’s not uncommon for us to not enter the water with a calf that young, since the mother already has too much to deal with and it’s nice to watch the new calf learning from the surface if the mother doesn’t mind the tender being there.

For the first two days we continued to get into the water with mother and calf pairs, many that we recognize from previous encounters. As time goes on, the whales become more comfortable with us and while mothers log at the surface in front of the guests, the calves tend to come in for closer investigation of the people floating at the surface.

Of course, it is possible that these mothers have been here before and are used to the tenders and humans from their own experiences, but the calves are seeing us for the very first time. We’re not even sure if they are completely aware of themselves yet, let alone knowing what these ‘weird creatures’ are floating around at the surface. It takes time to get the calves comfortable with us, but once they do, those can be some of the most invigorating encounters, as these two ton mammals come barreling towards you and turning at the last second, or playing at the surface, throwing pectorals around and spinning, showing guests its ventral side. 

The third day on the water proved to be much the same except this time one of the tenders came across a mother, calf and escort. The tender slowed down, running parallel to the three whales when under the surface you could see the great pectorals turn and head towards the boat. It seemed the whales were going to make a pass of the tender so the guests slipped into the water and hung nearby. For some reason this mother and calf loved the tender and stopped right underneath it and the guests. They continued to circle the tender, spy hopping only feet away before circling again. One of our repeat guests said in ten years she had never had an encounter like it. We were able to stay in the water with these whales for forty five minutes.


After all that, it would seem the week couldn’t possibly get any better. With the sun beginning to set in the sky and a half hour left of the day, we sight a single whale blow. We wait and watch, again it blows twelve minutes later. Approaching it with the tender, we begin to hear the “sirens of the sea”, it is singing! One last breath and the whale sinks beneath the surface again, our guests slip into the water and swim up to the resting, singing whale. What a way to finish such an incredible week, being serenaded by the mysterious North Atlantic humpback whale song.  


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:

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:

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 Dominik Plieseis