Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Fundraising
  • Green Whale
  • Kids blogs
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...
Orcas at the seabed

The secrets of orca beach life

Rubbing on smooth pebbles is a generations-old cultural tradition for a particular group of orcas...

A Humpback whale in Boston Harbor

Heidi Hansen is a seasoned WDC intern, who now serves as a naturalist for Boston’s Best Cruises, writes about the humpback in Boston Harbor. 

Memorial Day weekend in Boston Harbor is one of the busiest times of the year – representing the start of the summer recreational season, and if the weather is nice, many people spend their extra day out on the water.

Those visiting Boston for a whale watch this Memorial Day were able to glimpse an extremely unusual sighting – a wayward humpback whale that had wandered almost all the way to the inner harbor, first sighted off the breakwater of Logan Airport.

As a naturalist on Boston’s Best Cruises’ whale watch vessel, the Voyager III, I have seen a number of bizarre occurrences in Boston Harbor over the last couple of seasons. Last September there was another whale sighting in the harbor, however this turned out to be the carcass of a juvenile fin whale that had floated in. A live whale in the harbor, however, has not happened since 2005.

Busy with tourism and private boaters, fishing vessels, and large container and cruise ships, Boston Harbor can be an extremely treacherous place for our whales, particularly on one of the biggest tourism days of the year. Thankfully, however, this youngster had a number of helpers from the Boston police force, environmental police, and aquarium keeping watch and alerting boaters traveling through the harbor to its presence. Additionally, while the channel in Boston Harbor is approximately 40 feet deep at low tide, there are many very shallow places where a whale could strand.

As we left on the Voyager III for our morning whale watch, we were able to get a brief glimpse of this young humpback whale off of Deer Island head light in the outer harbor, which meant that the whale was moving in the right direction – back out to sea! Monica, our project supervisor, and new intern Elizabeth documented this individual with GPS and photo-identification data, though we have yet to get a positive ID.

When we returned from our trip, the whale appeared to have been completely clear of the harbor. While it is very unclear as to why the whale ended up in the harbor in the first place, we are thankful that it eventually found its way back to safer and deeper water.

About Regina Asmutis-silvia

Executive director - WDC North America