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Leukos Has Been Sighted !!!

Posted by Frederick Wasti
Jul 14 2012

Yes, Leukos has been sighted again !!!

As you know, Leukos, a female humpback whale first named by yours truly in the early 1980s, is the inspiration for the name of this blog (please see the About "Leukos" page for a brief biography of Leukos and my connection to her).

Leukos likely visits the Gulf of Maine (the expanse of water between Cape Cod and the west end of Nova Scotia) every year for the spring, summer, and fall seasons (spending the winters in the Caribbean), but she has not been sighted in Massachusetts every year. She was spotted offshore here as recently as 2011, but has not been seen here as of yet during 2012.

However, on July 10th, Leukos was sighted (and photographed) by a whale watch boat operating out of Westport, Brier Island, off the west coast of Nova Scotia. Here is a photograph of her tail flukes taken during that encounter:

Compare this with my own photograph that I used on the About "Leukos" page, or with this photo of mine from 2008, below:

It is not unusual for some humpback whales in the Gulf of Maine to travel around a lot, spending the warmer months at various places off of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, while it is also not unusual for others of "our" humpback whales to be "faithful" to only certain locations (for example, the humpback named Salt has been seen on Stellwagen Bank, east of Massachusetts Bay, every year since 1976). Apparently Leukos is one of the more well-traveled Gulf of Maine humpbacks.

Please see the map below to see where Stellwagen bank and Brier Island are, relative to each other, about 250 miles apart:

Of course, 250 miles is "small potatoes" to a Gulf of Maine humpback whale, which migrates to and from the Caribbean Sea each and every year.

So, it seems unlikely that I will have another chance to see Leukos this year. However, I do believe that there will be other years for Leukos and for me, and that I may yet see her once again when she next visits Massachusetts waters...

[Thanks to Jooke Robbins of the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, for alerting me to the above sighting, and to Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises, for making the 2012 signting photo above available online.]

Categories: General, Leukemia