On Saturday, I was attending my son’s baseball game when I got a call from a number in Lynn I did not recognize. I answered and discovered it was someone I had interacted with before about images on my Wednesdays in Marblehead site calling to inform me there was a whale just off the causeway hanging out in the Atlantic Ocean. Figuring the 12 year old was ‘stuck’ at Gatchells for another hour, I quickly jumped in the car and drove across the causeway to Ocean Avenue.
I arrived to find a few folks who had been watching the whale getting ready to go and informing me that he/she seemed to be heading out to sea. They helpfully pointed to a boat that apparently had been staying close to the whale for much of the time. I thankfully had my drone in the trunk of my car with a full battery and decided to fly it out to the boat to see if I might luck out and spot the whale.
I flew straight out over the water and reached the boat in about 3-4 minutes at which point I spotted the first plume of water shoot into the sky. I maneuvered the drone for a better look and started filming. The view was awesome and breathtaking. I still hadn’t recognized the type of whale but later learned it was a right whale swimming just off the shores of Marblehead.
I managed to capture the right whale for 10 minutes before my battery started to dip low enough that I felt the need to head to shore. From there, I returned to Gatchells and then home to see the footage. If the initial view on the iPad screen left me awestruck, this one made me speechless. I watched the whale swim and dive and spray plumes and then one plume caught the light and a rainbow appeared!
I shared a 30 second video on Saturday night before heading out to friends’ house for dinner and watched as the clip was shared hundreds of times. I later learned it made its way to the New England Aquarium where someone recognized the whale. I also learned from Bryan of the Marblehead Shark Club at the Charter School that there are currently 100-150 right whales off the coast of Massachusetts representing 1/3 to 1/2 of the world population of this endangered species. With that, there are restrictions in place on boaters to stay 500 yards away and for boats larger than 65 feet to maintain speeds under 10 knots to prevent damage to these endangered creatures.
Here are my favorite parts of the 10 minute once-in-a-lifetime adventure of filming:
A Right Whale comes to Marblehead