Probably my favorite thing we did on our recent trip to Massachusetts was whale watching. We went with Cape Ann Whale Watch in Gloucester, MA on a sunny day. The trip was 3 hours and we saw several whales and other sea animals as well. The boat was pretty big and could seat everyone comfortably with lots of extra room. There were around 100 people the day we went, but the boat can hold 200.
While journeying out to the whale watching area interns came around educating the passengers about the different types of whales, their anatomy, diets, and a variety of other interesting whale facts. The marine biologist was explaining to us that the area is great for whale watching because there is an underwater plateau. Nutrients is swept up to the plateau by underwater currents creating an area ideal for all sorts of marine life.
Once over the plateau we started scanning the ocean for signs of whales such as surfacing fish, flocks of birds, and bursts of water from the whales themselves. To our delight the first whales we sighted were a mom and her new calf.
Whales are identified by the marks on their tails. The crew determined that the mom was a whale named Ravine, but her calf had not been named yet. We watched as the whales surfaced and dove countless times.
I think it is quite interesting how whales are the largest mammals on earth, but they are also the most peaceful mammals as well (not including orcas). To me that really says something remarkable about nature. You can’t help but fall in love with these gentle sea creatures.
Next we saw another humpback whale and a fin whale out by a boat. The humpback was herding krill to eat by blowing bubbles in the water in the shape of a circle. Quite a clever corralling technique in my opinion.
On our way back we spotted a massive basking shark. I can honestly say it was easily the biggest shark I have ever seen in my lifetime. The crew estimated it to be 20-22 feet long. The crazy thing is basking sharks eat plankton!
We watched as it swam back and forth under our boat searching for food. Even though it does eat plankton, I think anyone would crap themselves if they saw this guy nearby while swimming. Unfortunately, the glare on the water caused my pictures to not turn out as I had hoped, but here is a short video to give you a better idea of how massive this shark was. (PS sorry for the shakiness and background commenting.)
As we returned to the dock there were a lot of really cool old buildings lining the edge of the harbor. I could not help myself so I flipped my camera back on and shot these:
Overall this trip was a 10/10. The crew was awesome and they do a lot to protect the environment. If they ever see trash floating in the ocean they take the time to clean it up and they educate everyone about the effects fishing nets and litter has on the marine ecosystem. At the end of the trip the crew has a raffle giving away a free whale watch to a lucky passenger. Just a few tips when going whale watching-bring a jacket because the boat ride can get cold not matter how hot it is, sunscreen and preferably a hat are essential, and don’t forget to bring a few dollars to tip the crew at the end!
As I briefly mentioned before Cape Ann has internships available for those who might be interested. I personally think it would be awesome to do an internship with their crew. For more information about their ship and tours check out their site:
What about you? Have you been whale watching? What was your experience?