Whales Breaching Off the Plymouth Shoreline Are Drawing Crowds
The great white sharks get most of the press in Massachusetts this time of the year as they migrate to coastal waters around Cape Cod in pursuit of tasty little seals, but the sharks are being upstaged by whales seen swimming and breaching off Manomet Point in Plymouth this month.
Like the sharks, the whales – mostly humpback whales – are attracted to the shallow waters by schools of small fish, a part of their daily diet.
The whales can eat up to 3,000 pounds of plankton and small fish per day, so where the food goes, so go the whales.
The problem is that the whales tend to draw quite a crowd of onlookers.
Many folks, like East Bridgewater whale photographer Suzanne Lewis O'Shea, who has been watching whales off the Massachusetts coast for more than 30 years, will photograph the whales from the shoreline. Others get into small boats and try to get close to the giant mammals.
On Sunday, a humpback whale came down hard on a small boat while breaching just offshore. Laura Howes, director of Marine Education and Conservation at Boston Harbor City Cruises, told ABC News the whale was "lunge feeding," which is a movement where the whale will move suddenly and quickly to prey upon a school of fish near the surface.
Howes said the whales are not trying to be aggressive but are big and heavy and can be dangerous. She advises onlookers to keep a safe distance.
Authorities in Massachusetts are also urging mariners to keep their distance.
O'Shea said it's unusual for the whales to come close to shore at Plymouth.
"I have only seen them close to shore on the lower Cape and maybe once at Duxbury Beach," she said.
O'Shea recently shared photos with WBSM of another humpback whale that came perilously close to a small boat off Manomet Point last week.