Right Whale Discovered Pregnant in August, Spotted with New Calf

Amid the growing concern that endangered North Atlantic right whales could be creeping toward extinction due to their declining numbers, every winter calving season offers a chance for hope.

On January 2, 2020, Harmonia, an 18-year-old right whale who was discovered to be pregnant this summer by the New England Aquarium right whale team, was spotted off Cumberland Island, GA, with her newborn calf.

An aerial survey team from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission saw the pair just over 7 miles from shore while doing routine surveys of the right whale calving ground. This is optimistic news for the right whale population, which now stands at about 411.

“Every calf gives us hope, and seeing Harmonia, who we’ve watched grow from a calf to a healthy mom, with her third calf is particularly exciting. The future of this species rests on the backs of dependable reproductive females like her,” said Philip Hamilton, a Research Scientist at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium.

Harmonia, right whale Catalog #3101, was sighted with her newborn calf about 7 nautical miles off Cumberland Island, GA, on January 2, 2020. Photo: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, taken under NOAA permit 20556-01

For 40 years, the Aquarium’s right whale team has extensively researched and tracked the endangered North Atlantic right whales with the photo-identification catalog it manages. The scientific team monitors the whales’ arrival at breeding and feeding grounds, registering new calves, death rates, and measuring changes in stress and reproductive hormones through scat and blow, or whale’s breath, research developed by the team. The team collaborates with fishermen on new techniques to reduce deadly entanglements in fishing gear, and it works with lawmakers locally and nationally to lobby for protections for the whales.

On Aug. 7, the team collected a sample of Harmonia’s feces in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where she was sighted with two other whales. An analysis of her hormones indicated that she was pregnant. By Nov. 23, she was spotted off the coast of Florida, the first right whale spotted in the Southeast this winter, exciting researchers with hopes that she had migrated to warmer waters to give birth. She was seen again on Dec. 10 off the coast of Georgia by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium aerial survey team.

Harmonia is well-known and well-studied by the New England Aquarium team. She was born in 2001 to parents, Aphrodite and Velcro, who are both thought to still be alive. Harmonia also has at least six half-brothers and two half-sisters. Harmonia has previously given birth to two calves – one in 2009 and another in 2016. Her first calf barely made it past its first year before being struck by a vessel and killed during the summer of 2010. Harmonia’s second calf, “Gully,” is still alive but was discovered in 2018 suffering another major threat to right whales – entanglement in fishing gear, leaving severe wounds and a deep gouge in its head.

As the right whale team has developed its health assessment techniques using blow and scat samples from free-swimming right whales, Harmonia has been an invaluable test case. The team was able to gather two blow samples and one fecal sample from Harmonia in 2015. Those samples showed elevated levels of reproductive hormones, characteristic of pregnancy, and she subsequently gave birth to Gully 10 months later. That finding was pivotal because it was the first proof that a sample of exhaled blow could effectively detect pregnancy.

Harmony on December 10, 2019. Photo: Clearwater Marine Aquarium, taken under NOAA Permit #20556-01.

Looking back on Harmonia’s history, she was one of a handful of calves from 2001 who stayed with her mom into her second year – unlike most calves who are weaned by the end of their first year. Harmonia also gave birth to her first calf three years earlier than average and was pregnant by the age of 7. She’s had two suction cup tags attached to her – the first at age 2 so researchers could understand how she behaved underwater, and the second to assess how she and her calf vocalized. Her blubber thickness has been measured, and she’s been observed by a special aerial camera designed to provide accurate length and width measurement – all in addition to her involvement in the feces and blow hormone studies.

Harmonia has been seen by the Aquarium right whale team in the Bay of Fundy many times and almost every year up until 2011, but has not been seen there since. Due to ocean changes brought on by climate change, few right whales use the Bay of Fundy now. Harmonia is one of the 130 or so right whales that have adapted and now feed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where she has been seen every year since 2015.

“Harmonia” waves her fluke around in the air. Photo: Monica Zani, New England Aquarium/Canadian Whale Institute.


We’re all in this together! Take the Cape Ann Community Survey.

Cape Ann Community

At Action Inc., our goal is to meet our community’s needs. Every three years, we conduct a community-wide needs assessment to better understand the issues that are most important to Cape Ann residents.

Please take five minutes to complete our survey and tell us the biggest challenges that you see facing Cape Ann residents today. Your input will help us improve our services in the future.

If you provide contact information, you will also be entered into a drawing for one of ten $25 Market Basket gift cards!

Thanks so much for your help!

Survey Links




Bridge Sunset


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Mermaid Tales Sea Glass Art Night

Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 6 PM – 8 PM
205 Main Street
Gloucester, MA  01930

Happy New Year all you beautiful Mermaids! 🥰

Our next Sea Glass Art Night is almost here!!!

We’ll be creating Custom One-of-a-Kind Sea Glass Art that you’ll be able to take home!

🥪 We’ll also have drinks, food, snacks, and a great group of people to spend time with for the evening! 🍹

Tickets range from $40-60+ depending on the size of the piece that you would like to create, and can be reserved ahead of time!

Everything is included! (Food, Drink, Materials, etc)

You’ll also receive a BONUS Shopping coupon for the night!

We have less than 16 spots left, so be sure to RSVP if you’re interested, before they’re filled!

You’re going to make one of the most amazing nautical pieces of art that you’ve ever seen & get to take it home with you forever!

winter sunrise Good Harbor Beach – marsh walk loop

Loop outline on Google satellite map.jpg

From Salt Island side walked the beach and circled round Thacher Road at the back of Good Harbor Beach, about 6:30-6:45am. Photos possible from the safe and great new walkway (thanks Gloucester DPW)

Live Acoustic With Brian Alex, Lead Singer of Entrain – Mile Marker One


Join us this Thursday from 7-9pm for live acoustic with Brian Alex, lead singer of Boston’s Entrain. You don’t want to miss it!

When: Thursday January 9th 7-9pm
Where: Mile Marker One Dining Room & Bar (75 Essex Avenue Gloucester)
Details: Free event, make your reservations ahead of time

Learn More Here:

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GHS boys basketball home games today! 🏀🏀

GHS boys bball home games ©c ryan.jpg

January 7, 2020 GHS boys basketball home games tonight vs. Beverly

Freshman game at 4pm

JV game at 5:30PM

Varsity at 7:00PM


Yesterday in Rockport

No doubt you heard yesterday that there was an incident at Rockport Middle School.  As a mother of a seventh grade Rockport student I can tell you that it was a long and emotional day.  It was a day of fear…then gratitude…then more fear….some disbelief, some confusion, some relief, some heartache, some disappointment…and lots of love and appreciation.  It was a night spent reassuring, addressing, soothing, explaining, and…mostly, listening.  As I type this (11:30 last night to post tomorrow…which for you is now today) my twelve year old is asleep in my bed next to me for the first time in, like, forever.

I will tell you quickly how the day unfolded in my little corner of the world and then, if you don’t mind, share with you just why I felt some of the things I did.

Driving through “Five Corners” in Rockport right around 7:30 a.m. on my way out of town for work, I saw three police cars rushing into Rockport. One was an unmarked car. It was that unmarked black car that made me nervous…that rattled me.  It was that car that set off alarms and made me stop to text my son.  “Are you ok?”  Please, please, please.  “Yes.”  Relief. Exhale. But, then his text continued… “We’re on lock-down. Someone was stabbed. By another student. I think he ran.”  What?  “In the high school?” I asked.  “No, Mom. 7th. In my grade.”  I asked again, “Are you ok?” …..and got no response.
It would be quite a while before I heard from my son again.  In the meantime, I had many thoughts.  He was ok.  But, someone else was not.  Is that really what happened?  Is that just what he thought was happening?  Was there something else going on?  Are the teachers and staff ok? Should I text him again?  Should I call him?  Is his phone on silent?  Is he hiding? Do I really want his phone to make a noise when my message comes through? Does he need me? Is he still ok? If his text was accurate, oh my word….that poor family.
I called my husband and filled him in on the little I knew.  I saw several police cars. I texted our son. This is what he said. Now he’s not answering. Don’t text him or call him.  I don’t want his phone making any noise. Please let me know if you hear more.
I continued on to work.
30 minutes after our initial conversation, thank goodness, another text. “I’m safe, but I can’t text you any more.”
I make a phone call to my husband.
Because I’m at work….I quickly get wrapped up in work.  I want to know more, but there are some immediate things to be taken care of in my office.
At 8:30, an hour after seeing those police cars and first communicating with my son, comes a text from my mother.  “What is happening in Rockport?  I just saw the news.”  I filled her in on what little I knew. I hadn’t thought to call her. I didn’t know it had already made it to the news.
Here is the love and appreciation part…..  for the rest of the day, as news spreads, my phone buzzes with friends reaching out to make sure our son is ok, to send their love, and to acknowledge how scary it must be.  I am so fortunate to have so many amazing people in our lives. Their concern for our boy and his classmates brought tears to my eyes.  The love and kindness they expressed for him…and the community of Rockport…and us…meant the world.
Here, in contrast, is the disappointment part.  I decide to take a moment to see if more information has been shared. It was clear it had been on news channels, but I can’t find it online.  I turn to Facebook and look at the Rockport Middle School page…where I’m sure there couldn’t possibly be an update, but was the first place I thought to check.  I then check out the Rockport Police page….also fully assuming that no one would have been able to share an update. Obviously…and understandably…there is no news.  What I do find, however, on other forums, is a circus of blame and finger pointing and judging. I find people who are convinced that they know exactly why something like this could happen.  Convinced that it was because of this….or because of that.  People who were so quick to assume…while an emergency was still unfolding…so quick to put out to the world what they would have done differently. A frenzy of information shared….some it turns out correct, some it turns out, not.
As I’m reading, a phone call comes in from the school….and then thereafter, an email with the exact same message.  A serious physical assault, one student has been transported to the hospital, one student is in custody, police have determined it is safe to continue with school, as parents you obviously have the right to dismiss your child as you see fit. 
More appreciation….  I also find, thank goodness…goodness.  Many parents supporting each other.  Other community members expressing concern, thoughts, and prayers for all involved.  Many thanking the school and the first responders.  Some people offering to pick up other’s children. Support, thoughts and prayers, importantly I think, to both families.
I work, the day continues to unfold, our son asks to be picked up, my husband gets him, he’s home safely.  We talk briefly….  helicopters, police, I saw her down on the floor, I saw her mother arrive at the school, “yes” I know the boy.
Here’s the thing.  We live in a very small community.  Even beyond our town lines to Gloucester is truly not that big.  It’s most often beautiful.  Idyllic, many would say. A place where people care for each other, rally for each other, and gather to get through hard times.  Often. Yes, my son has a very small number of children in his seventh grade class at Rockport Middle School so, of course, he knows the children involved.  But, it doesn’t end there.  He knows, and truly adores, the extended family of the child who did this as well. We all do.  So, obviously, I immediately reach out.  “Thinking of you. This can not be easy.  I’m so sorry.” In fact, this person is, not at all surprisingly because she is so great, one of the first people who reached out to me upon hearing the news of something happening in Rockport.  Not knowing at the time, how this would come to unfold…and the news she would soon get.
At home we finally have time to really talk.  My son expressed lots of sadness, fear, and emotion. He was very concerned for his hospitalized classmate…and her closest of friends, confused by the actions of another classmate…yet, aware that there were probably issues and circumstances that he does not know or can not understand, sad for both families, worried about his friends from outside of his school who are now suddenly dealing with a different type of sadness and concern and shock, and of course (and heartbreakingly)…maybe for the first time ever…really scared for himself.
We are very thankful to the Rockport school system and for those in Gloucester who jumped in to assist.  We are very thankful to all of the first responders. There are so many people to think of and keep in our thoughts or prayers right now.  I hope that others can just wish for the best for all involved and not point fingers.  Not interject how they could have prevented this situation…not make assumptions.  Instead use that energy to send healing thoughts to the young girl, her hurting family, and her very scared friends.  Continue to think of them through what will no doubt be an incredibly difficult time ahead…even after the physical healing begins to take place.  Also try, as part of this close community, to try to understand the pain and sadness that is no doubt being felt by the other family involved. Consider, for a moment, what that might also feel like. Be kind.



Gloucester Biotechnology Academy’s first Open House of 2020!

Cape Ann Community

Please join us at our state-of-the-art teaching facility in Blackburn Center on Thursday, January 23rd for Gloucester Biotechnology Academy’s first Open House of the year.

Come learn more about this innovative program and how it can lead to an exciting career in biotech!

Applications for the 2021 class will be available, and students, alumni and teachers will be on site to chat with and answer your questions.

Please reach out to Lead Teacher Elizabeth Wing at for more information.

GBA_Flyer_OPEN HOUSE January 2020

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Reiki Training Level 1

Cape Ann Wellness

REIKI TRAININGS with Marleen Wood

January 11 & 12 (Saturday & Sunday)

Ayurveda Wellness Healing, 25C Lexington Ave, 2nd Floor, Magnolia, MA

Reiki Master Marleen Woodwill offer a class in Level 1 of Usui Reiki training.

Reiki is a Japanese hands-on healing technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. Reiki means Universal Life Energy, the energy that sustains all life. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. So Reiki is actually “spiritually guided life force energy.”

Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects…

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