Apex the Humpback Whale

 Her Story

Apex dorsal fin
Apex dorsal fin

When Apex was first sighted in 1982, she was already a large adult, a minimum of 4 or 5 years old.  Her mother is not known. Apex was last sighted in 2014.  Apex was named for the nick in her dorsal fin (on her back) that forms a peak or apex.  She has ten calves (family tree below) and her first known calf, Shark has nine calves of her own.  Shark made Apex a grandmother in 1991.  Apex is still very active and provides whale watchers with a lot of action.  Apex was sighted in 2017.






apex the humpback whale
Apex fluke pattern

A sighting of Apex.  On September 3, 2003 our boat left the pier and 40 minutes later sailed into the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.  We were delighted when we spied Apex and what a show she provided a boat full of people.  She began lobtailing close to the boat and this is the best way to identify an individual whale.








Apex lobtailing
Apex lobtailing

Why? Lobtailing is hitting the tail on the water and seeing the tail from many angles will always provide a good photo for viewing the patterns that basically stay the same for the life of the whale.










See her baleen hanging down from upper jaw
See her baleen hanging down from upper jaw

When Apex is feeding, she drags across the surface of the water attracting birds that eat the same fish as Apex.  The baleen in her mouth is a filtering system to separate the fish from the salt water.


Apex’s Family Tree


Calves Year of Birth Grandcalves
Shark 1983 Nine by Shark
Icicle 1988
Clamp 1990
Wicket 1992
Killick 1996
Libra 1999
Unnamed 2002
Unnamed 2004
Unnamed 2006
Unnamed 2009