Being the enormous animal lovers that we are, we absolutely jumped at the chance to venture out on a whale watch expedition on our recent visit to the New England Aquarium.
Nothing is more exciting and satisfying to me than having the opportunity to witness some of Earth’s most fascinating (and largest) creatures in their natural habitat. Whale watching has long been on my list of must-do experiences, and I’m happy to say that the late August morning adventure we spent with the folks from the New England Aquarium did not disappoint.
We rushed down to the harbor to catch the first 9:00am high-speed catamaran leaving port. I was really impressed with the size, speed and quality of the vessel. Jacques Cousteau eat your heart out! Very roomy and comfortable both inside and outside the cabin.
The trip out to the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary, the feeding ground for a variety of marine life including whales, dolphins and sea birds took approximately 1 hour. The ocean was a tad angry on this day with swells reaching 5 feet at times. There were more than a few passengers looking a bit green from the rhythmic pounding as the vessel quickly sped through open water. I must say, the staff on the ship were incredible. Super friendly, attentive and responsive to anyone feeling ill. Luckily, the motion subsided when we arrived at the viewing location and the trip back was smooth.
What made the experience super exciting for me was the anticipation of seeing our first whale. The Aquarium offers a whale sighting guarantee (you receive a free ticket for a future cruise if there isn’t a sighting). So I suppose there is the off chance that the sometimes elusive whales could have stage fright and not make an appearance. Fortunately for us, that wasn’t the case on this day.
All the passengers are instructed to keep an eye out for the tell tale signs of a whale surfacing – the burst of air and mist from their blowhole. And when I did first witness the cloud of white spray appear, and the enormous back of the beautiful beast rising out of the water, it was truly a heart-pounding and awe-inspiring experience.
We were treated to several humpback whale appearances on this sunny morning. And although we didn’t get to see the full whale bursting through the surface like you see on the Discovery channel, on a couple occasions – the whales demonstrated their incredible power and grace while exposing their massive tails to dive down to the ocean depths for a tasty meal of krill and copepods. In my mind, nothing beats the beauty of nature.
I really can’t recommend this experience enough. The excursion was not only thrilling, but very educational. The staff does an excellent job of communicating information about the geography of the area and the ocean and its inhabitants. You know it was a good trip when everyone is coming back to port smiling and energized from the experience. Truly awesome. For now, back to the cage.