Humpback Whale Spotted in Boston Harbor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Officials say young humpback whale found its way into the waters close to shore (Published Thursday, Feb 20, 2014)

    (NECN: Josh Brogadir, Boston) - It's a whale of a story, but it's true: A humpback whale was seen half mile off shore in Boston Harbor Monday.

    This guy appears to have gotten off course. The best thing would be for him to be over in Stellwagen Bank, 25 miles off the coast of Boston eating sand lance and herring.

    Monday was not a bad day for a whale watch, but on this Memorial Day, the whale came to the people.

    A juvenile humpback, about 20-30 feet long and probably about 3 to 4 years old, swam into Boston Harbor and was seen about half mile from shore.

    "It's not an unheard of event, but it's pretty unusual. The last time this happened was actually back in 2005," said New England Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse.

    He said eight years ago, a whale stuck around the back of the aquarium and other places in the inner harbor for three days.

    This one was seen three times, so far.

    First time was 8 a.m., when the captain of the Boston Harbor Cruises Provincetown ferry boat, the Salacia, was fueling up near the airport.

    "He was probably about 150 feet off my bow and that point in time you just stop the boat. You don't move because he only surfaces a few times and then you don't know where he is or what direction he's swimming," said Capt. Jason Nicastro.

    Second was about an hour later near Spectacle Island, where it was followed by the coast guard.

    The third time was at a whale watch boat near Deer Island about 1 p.m.

    This whale probably got a little misdirected and, especially with all the boats out on the water on Memorial Day, authorities are trying to keep tabs on him.

    "We're concerned that the animal appeared to be fairly thin. It also had some prior injuries around what we call the peduncle, that's the tail stock the thin part where the tail fluke attaches to the body. And it had some scarring that might have been the product of an entanglement earlier. We didn't know what role that might have played in it," LaCasse said.

    Humpbacks make approximately five minute dives, and so mariners should be aware.

    Call the Aquarium's marine mammal hotline at 617- 973-5247 if you see the whale.