[Whale Groans] “Okay, he either said, “move to the back of the throat,” or he “wants a root beer float”.”~Dory from Finding Nemo
This summer, I took my family on their first whale watch out of Provincetown, Massachusetts. We traveled to the Stellwagen Bank on a beautiful sunset cruise where we saw over twenty whales breaching, diving and tail-slapping. From start to finish, our trip was amazing. It was educational, entertaining, humbling and completely captivating...And, no one fell overboard.
You can’t visit or live on the East Coast without having experienced a whale watch at least once. Spring and fall are the best times to go whales watching in New England, however, even in summer, you can get in on the whale action. The Atlantic Ocean is home to Finback, Humpback and Minke whales as well as the North Atlantic Right whale, a rare breed. In fact, it is estimated that there are only 3oo Minke whales remaining today.
Whales are incredible, beautiful, docile creatures. The whale is the largest species in the ocean. In fact, the Blue whale is the largest and loudest creature ever to have existed on our planet––even bigger than dinosaurs. It can whistle up to 188 decibels (that’s louder than a jet engine) which can be heard over 100 miles under water. It’s tongue, alone, weighs more than an elephant and can hold up to 50 people. Whales, like us, are mammals. They are warm-blooded and can remain under water for nearly an hour before coming up for air. Whales do not mate for life. Most migrate to colder waters in the summer to reproduce and take advantage of plentiful feeding grounds before returning to warmer poles in the winter where the females will give birth to calves. A “dork” is the name for the male whale’s penis––who knew research could be so interesting.
The whales found in New England are baleen whales. Baleen whales do not have teeth. They can’t chew you up, but, if they wanted to, they could probably swallow you whole.The baleen whale’s mouth is like a giant strainer made of bone. As the whale takes in water, the baleen catches small fish and plankton to eat. The Finback whale is grayish in color, long and sleek, growing up to 80 feet in length. The Right whale is a stocky whale that extends up to 60 feet. It is mostly black and has no dorsal fin.The Humpback whale is also mostly black and has long white flippers and bumps on its head. It grows up to 55 feet long.This is the whale whose tail you will often see as it breaches and dives back into the ocean. The Minke whale is the smallest of New England whales, only growing to about 30 feet. It has a sickle shaped dorsal (like a shark) and no visible spout.
Whale watching offers people all ages an opportunity to experience some of the awe and fascination that the ocean and it’s habitants have always evoked for us land-trekkers. Most whaling tours and charters are equipped with a knowledgeable staff, comfortable seating, plenty of room to move about, nautical views and, of course, whale sightings!
Whale Watching Tours in New England:
Whale Watching in Maine:
First Chance Whale Watch in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Whale Watching in Massachusetts:
AC Cruise Line in Boston, Massachusetts.
Atlantic Yankee Fishing & Whale Watch in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Boston Harbour Cruises in Boston, Massachusetts.
Cape Ann Whale Watch in Gloucester, Massachusetts
Capt Bill's Whale Watching & Deep Sea Fishing in Gloucester, Massachusetts
Newburyport Whale Watch in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Portuguese Princess Whale Watch of Provincetown in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Seven Seas Whale Watch in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Shearwater Excursions on Natucket Island.
Whale Watching in New Hampshire:
Al Gauron Whale Watching at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.
Atlantic Whale Watch at Rye Harbor, New Hampshire.
Granite State Whale Watch at Rye Harbor, New Hampshire .
Eastman’s Docks at Seabrook Beach, New Hampshire.
Whale Watching in Rhode Island:
Frances Fleet Whale Watching in Narragansett, Rhode Island.
Snappa Charters in Narragansett, Rhode Island.
*Whale SENSE is an organization which promotes responsible whale watching and whale conservation.
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