Whales crossing Plymouth shore draw crowds


Great white sharks attract the bulk of the press in Massachusetts this time of year as they migrate to coastal waters around Cape Cod in pursuit of tasty little seals, but the sharks are dwarfed by whales views swimming in and out of Manomet Point in Plymouth this month.

Like sharks, whales – mostly humpback whales – are drawn to shallow waters by schools of small fish, which are part of their daily diet.

Whales crossing Plymouth shore draw crowds

Suzanne Lewis O’Shea/used with permission

Whales can eat up to 3,000 pounds of plankton and small fish a day, so where does the food go, so do the whales.

The problem is that whales tend to attract crowds of onlookers.

Whales crossing Plymouth shore draw crowds

Suzanne Lewis O’Shea/used with permission

Many people, like East Bridgewater whale photographer Suzanne Lewis O’Shea, who has been watching whales off the Massachusetts coast for over 30 years, will photograph whales from shore. Others get into small boats and attempt to approach the giant mammals.

Whales crossing Plymouth shore draw crowds

Suzanne Lewis O’Shea/used with permission

On Sunday, a humpback whale fell hard on a small boat as it breached just offshore. Laura Howes, director of marine education and conservation at Boston Harbor City Cruises, told ABC News that the whale is “slit feeding,” which is a movement where the whale will move suddenly and quickly to attack a school of fish near the surface.

Howes said the whales weren’t trying to be aggressive, but they were big and heavy and could be dangerous. She advises onlookers to keep a safe distance.

Massachusetts officials are also urging sailors to keep their distance.

Whales crossing Plymouth shore draw crowds

Suzanne Lewis O’Shea/used with permission

O’Shea said it was unusual for whales to come close to shore in Plymouth.

“I only saw them near 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 got dangerously close to a small boat off Manomet Point last week.

Whales crossing Plymouth shore draw crowds

Suzanne Lewis O’Shea/used with permission

Whales crossing Plymouth shore draw crowds

Suzanne Lewis O’Shea/used with permission

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