“It was totally zen,” said Tom Zoller, of his long encounter with a minke whale about 5 miles off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts, on Monday.
Zoller and his wife, Ann, had left Pamet Harbor in Truro, Mass., Aboard their 23-foot boat for a fishing and birding expedition.
“We like to turn off the key and float around for hours and just watch,” Zoller said.
They saw shearwaters, northern gannets and petrels, then an unexpected guest arrived at the party.
“We saw a splash and then a minke circled the boat about a dozen times,” he said. “He was going around and approaching the boat. He was looking for us.”
The approximately 20-foot-long whale swam several feet from the boat and under the boat on numerous occasions, blowing bubbles and raising its head.
“He would lift his little muzzle and just look at us,” said Zoller, a longtime Cape Cod vacationer. “It was so weird.”
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The two Zollers started talking to the whale. Ann asked the minke if he was the one who made the headlines last month after swallowing diver lobster Michael Packard, even though a humpback whale is the prime suspect for the caper.
And then there was the matter of what Tom Zoller called “the open air talk,” where the minke made growling and sparkling sounds as it approached the boat.
Eventually the minke seemed to have had enough Zoller time and swam away. Tom called the episode “spiritual”.
“We have had phenomenal experiences there,” said Tom Zoller. “This one was surreal.”
In 2015, the Zollers caused a media stir when they captured an underwater GoPro video of a great white shark swimming near their boat.
Charles “Stormy” Mayo, senior scientist and whale expert at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, was able to identify the whale as a minke whale from a screenshot provided by the Zollers and provided some context for it. experience of the Zollers.
“It doesn’t happen regularly, but it’s not uncommon,” Mayo said. People need to be assured that there is never any danger with the whale, he added.