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I will make my way to the central departure point listed on my voucher (and the Getting There section of the website).

A few minutes earlier someone had spotted the first North Atlantic right whales of the day.

But now they were down below and out of sight in 80 feet of murky seawater. Finally, a whale’s head emerged briefly on the sea surface.

If the whale could speak, it could tell us about its experience as it plies thousands of ocean miles, mates, bears its calves, eats zooplankton, meets its challenges and, eventually, its end.

It can’t, of course, but scientists have found that biochemical traces of some of its experiences persist in its body, even long after death.

Dark, hard, flexible and a little flaky, the texture of Stumpy’s baleen was reminiscent of horn, or a disturbingly overgrown fingernail.

But at its worn tip and edges Hunt pointed out a surprise: a fringe of wispy hair, soft as a person’s.

The guide was very informative & kept you updated at all times!

We managed to see lots of sea birds & white beaked dolphins!

The baleen came from a North Atlantic right whale nicknamed Stumpy who died in 2004 after colliding with a ship – a common cause of death among right whales.

When scientists necropsied her corpse, they collected some of her baleen, not realising how useful it would later prove to be.

Then a slab of black back followed by the silhouette of flukes, signaling another deep dive. Groans from the crew, who did not quite manage to snap a photo that could help identify the whale, one of an early March influx that foretold another strong season in Cape Cod Bay.

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