Examiner | Magazine

Fascinating facts about humpbacks and more, as whale-watching season begins

There she blows! Sizing up the behemoths found in New England waters.

Associated PRess

> 1 in 10 — Number of humpback whales in southern New England waters injured in boat collisions

> 1712 — Year systematic whaling started in North America, centered at the time on Nantucket

> 25 — Number of miles that Stellwagen Bank, a popular whale-watching area, is located off the coast of Boston


> 14 — Number of calves known to have been birthed by the most famous Stellwagen Bank whale, a humpback called “Salt”; first seen in 1976, she is still alive and is the first Stellwagen whale to be given a name

> 37 — Average weight in tons of an adult humpback, the species most commonly seen near Massachusetts

> 4 — Number of species seen most often off the coast of Massachusetts: humpback, fin, minke, and North Atlantic right

> 35 to 55 feet — Average length of humpbacks; females are larger than males

> 30 — Speed in m.p.h. that fin whales, which can grow to 85 feet in length, are able to reach


> 3,000 — Pounds of food some larger species, like the humpback, can consume in a day

> 150 — Approximate number of readers of Herman Melville’s classic during the 25-hour Moby-Dick Marathon held annually at the New Bedford Whaling Museum; Provincetown and Mystic, Connecticut, are other New England towns with Moby-Dick marathons

> 329 — Number of vessels in the New Bedford whaling fleet at its peak in 1857, which were valued at more than $12 million and employed more than 10,000 men

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“There she blows! — there she blows!”  — Captain Ahab, Moby-Dick

Sources:;; bostonharborcruises;; Moby-Dick

Mayeesha Galiba can be reached at