marin home

Part of the most remote island archipelago on Earth, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument supports a reef ecosystem with more than 7,000 marine species and is home to many species of coral, fish, birds and marine mammals. This includes the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, the endangered leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles. A Hawaiian monk seal naps on the beach with a rainbow on the horizon. Photo by Mark Sullivan, NOAA/HMSRP, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.

Welcome to Whale Week! This week we’ll be bringing you photos and information about the whales that call national marine sanctuaries home. 

This is Salt, one of the most famous humpback whales in the world today. She was first spotted in Massachusetts Bay in the 1970s, and has been seen in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary just about every year since then. She was one of the first northern humpback whales to be recognized at breeding grounds at Silver Bank off the coast of the Dominican Republic, providing proof of the humpback whale migratory route in the North Atlantic. 

Salt has had 14 calves and many grandchildren – and in 2014, she became a great-grandmother! She appears to be a leader among her peers, often diving and resurfacing before others when in a group of feeding whales. 

(Photo: Laura Howes)