Subject: North Atlantic Whales

Martine Berube (
Wed, 13 May 1998 17:31:51 +0200 (MET DST)

Dear Ashley,
I suspect that you will go out with the Capitain John Boats. You should look
at their website ( to find more
information about your trip. 
You should expect to mainly see humpback whale. As the Gulf of Maine is one
of the many North Atlantic humpback whale feeding areas, you may see them
feeding at the surface , if you are lucky I say! Of course, you have to be
prepared to the fact that the whales may not be there at the time you will
go out or you may not see humpback but instead fin whale or minke whale. The
fin whale is the second largest baleen whale and has a very beautiful
asymmetrical coloration (I work mainly on fin whale!). 
How far you will go out depends on where the whales will be that day. Don't
forget, they leave in an open ocean without physical barrier. They come to
the Gulf to feed and their movement depends on where the food is. So, the
food, the condition of the sea, and the time schedule of the boat will
decide how far you will have to go.
In the case of the humpback whales, the individuals you will see have
arrived from the South where they have spend the winter to breed and give
birth. Most of them will spend the summer in the area however, there might
be some animals which are "en route" to another feeding area such as the
Gulf of St. Lawrence or West Greenland. 
Have a good trip,

At 08.54 AM 13-05-1998 EDT, you wrote:
>Hi. Martine:
>My name is Ashley and I am 11 years old.  My fifth grade class is going on a
>Whale Watch June 11.  We are leaving from Plymouth Mass.  My questions  are---
>What type of whales should we expect to see?
>How far out will we be expecting to go before we see any?
>And are these whales heading south or north at this time o year?
>The answers to these questions will also be part of my Science project so I
>thank you  now for any information you can give me
Martine Berube
Unit of Evolutionary Genetics
Department of Molecular Biology
Free University of Brussels (ULB)
CP 244
Bld du Triomphe
B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 650 5427
Fax: +32 2 650 5421