Saturday, 2:15 PM
(Video by Eric Moskowitz)
By Eric Moskowitz, Globe Staff
PROVINCETOWN -- Scores of people have gathered today at Herring Cove Beach, hoping for a glimpse of an unusually large gathering of North Atlantic right whales off the shore.
Under gauzy skies, with the sun occasionally peeping through, the spectators are peering through binoculars at slivers of black, past the seabirds, on the blue-gray water.
Scientists say they have never seen so many of the whales so early in the spring – and that's a good sign for an endangered species that has been decimated by ship strikes and fishing gear entanglements in recent decades.
"Oh, I can see one way out. Can you see where there's a strip of blue beyond the gray? It's like a strip of blue beyond the gray water. Oh, there it is. Big, huh? So far away," Laurie Poklop, 52, of Cambridge, said as she looked through her binoculars. Her 4-year-old daughter, Zoe, was waiting in the car, watching a portable DVD player.
"Even knowing they're out there is good and exciting. Even that's powerful," said Peg Harrington of Braintree, who came with her husband, Paul, her 6-year-old daughter, Paige, and her 8-year-old son, John.
"I see them, like three or four of them," said Peg Harrington, who was sharing a powerful pair of binoculars with her husband, while Paige had her own smaller pair and John had a digital camera.
Charles "Stormy" Mayo, senior scientist at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, told the Globe this week that the best place to see the whales is between the Herring Cove and Race Point beaches in Provincetown and occasionally bayside beaches in Truro and Wellfleet. Boats are not allowed within 500 yards of a North Atlantic right whale.