A beautiful site occurred in Cape Cod waters last week when researchers got a glimpse of endangered whales traveling through Provincetown Harbor.

Researchers from the Center for Coastal Studies managed to document four to seven North Atlantic right whales in Cape Cod Bay for the first time this season.

“The whales were observed over the course of four hours, often swimming below the surface,” said the Center.

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Getting close for good documentation proved difficult as the animals traveled below the surface, making tracking a tricky process.

When researchers were just about to give up, the team caught a glimpse of one of the whales feeding near the Wood End Lighthouse. Soon, they had their sights set on two whales and snapped a photo.

The whales were identified as 37-year-old Aphrodite and another adult female named Archipelago. Both whales reportedly had calves last season, a good sign for the dwindling species.

North Atlantic right whales are massive whales, characterized by a stocky black body with no dorsal fin, weighing up to 70 tons and growing to 52 feet in length. They live in the Atlantic Ocean and are known to propel themselves out of the water and breach, making for exciting whale watching.

The North Atlantic right whales are one of the world’s most endangered species.

“To help mitigate the risk of human impacts, federal law prohibits approaching right whales at distances closer than 500 feet with limited exceptions,” said the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

The Center hopes to conduct additional surveys, weather permitting, by boat and plane over the coming days and weeks to continue to monitor the right whale population in Cape Cod Bay.

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