Local News

Fishing boat off Nantucket has close encounter with humpback whales

Two humpback whales came within feet of a charter fishing boat near Nantucket this week.

It’s no secret that the waters off Massachusetts host a variety of whale species every year. But it’s not too often that humans get to see gentle giants of the deep up close. Passengers on a Nantucket charter fishing boat were treated to such an experience this week. 

A video posted to Facebook Monday from Althea K. Fishing Adventures shows two humpback whales calmly swimming by Captain Pete Kaizer’s sportfishing boat, coming within feet of the excited onlookers. 

Josh Holdgate, who was on the boat, told 7News that this was the closest he’s ever seen whales come to a boat. The animals were obscured by fog until the boat came close to them, heightening the excitement, he said. 


This is not the first time passengers aboard the Althea K got a front-row seat to a spectacular whale show. A video posted in 2019 shows a pod of at least eight humpbacks slowly cruising along the surface near the boat. Other encounters are detailed in videos posted to the company’s website. 

Humpbacks live in oceans all over the world, and are known to travel extensively. They have one of the longest migrations of any mammal on the planet, according to NOAA. At least two populations spend the spring, summer, and fall feeding in the North Atlantic. They roam waters from New England to Norway, feasting on krill and small fish. In the winter, the whales travel south to mate and give birth near the West Indies and Cape Verde. 

In addition to humpbacks, critically endangered North Atlantic right whales are known to frequent the areas near Cape Cod and the Islands. About a quarter of Earth’s entire population of right whales was seen in Cape Cod Bay earlier this year.

Right whales are particularly vulnerable to vessel strikes, and Boston-based scientists have pushed for more restrictions to the recreational boating and fishing industries in the interest of saving the animals.


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