The first whale we saw was a Finback Whale, the second largest in the world after the Blue Whale. It rose several times and gave great views of its small dorsal fin before it dove. On the way out we saw several scatterings of Wilson's Storm Petrels, tiny, dark, pigeon-like birds with a white rump. They flew very fast and erratically, somewhat like a combination between a swallow and a pigeon, and veered every now and then to patter with their feet on the surface of the water and reach down to grab a small morsel. A Razorbill flew by the boat, a small auk that shouldn't really be here this time of year. A few shearwaters flew off in the distance, no good views to be had yet. A group of seven Common Loons that seemed to be a family all dove as the boat came closer.
We arrived at the south-west corner of Stellwagen bank, just north of Provincetown, and things began to get hectic. More scatterings of Storm Petrels, and then the first Humpback Whales surrounded by a cloud of birds. We pulled up into the middle of it all and were eventually surrounded by 15 Humpback Whales on all sides, actively feeding, flipper slapping, and breaching. The birds, numbering at about 1000, were mostly Sooty Shearwaters, but there were also lots of Greater Shearwater, a bunch of Herring Gulls and Laughing Gulls, and a few Cory's Shearwaters and a couple of Manx Shearwaters mixed in. Wherever the whales went the birds went, and the birds also went wherever they thought the whales were going to go. They crowded around the feeding whales, reaching into the water and picking out fish as they were forced to the surface. I took tons of photos, doing my best to quickly confront new challenges. Just as we were about to leave a small Minke Whale came in to join the party.
On the way back, a Parasitic Jaeger flew alongside the boat for a while which was a nice treat.