Cape Cod Whale Watching - Orlando / Florida Guide
Florida Guide > Travelling
We are lucky to have been whale watching on several occasions from 3 different locations. We have seen Orcas whilst on a whale watch trip from Vancouver Island and have seen multiple species of whale on trips from various locations off the north east coast of the USA.
What follows is an account of our second whale watch trip out of Barnstaple Cape Cod.
We booked our trip online and although we booked in advance we waited until just a few days before so that we could choose the day with the best weather forecast. Although the trip sets sail in most weathers I am not a good sailor and anything more than a slightly choppy sea would not be a happy trip for me especially as the trip lasts for 3. 5 to 4 hours. This being our second trip with the same company we knew the drill, get there early and be prepared to pay for parking. Dress in layers, even on hot sunny days it can be chilly out on the water. Don' t forget sunglasses and sunscreen and of course your camera and binoculars if you have them. There are drinks and refreshments available on board but you can take your own if you wish. A last minute trip to the bathroom is always advisable as although there are restrooms on board, negotiating the stairs on a boat moving at high speed is not always easy.
We found a seat on the top deck at the edge of a row, being on the end makes it much easier to move to another part of the boat quickly when a whale is spotted. The weather was glorious and we congratulated ourselves on picking the best day of the week so far. As well as the captain and his crew there is a naturalist on board the vessel who will give a commentary about the whales and their, habits and will alert you to any whale sightings, they also come in and amongst the passengers to answer questions on a one to one basis.
The journey out of Barnstable Harbor was a gentle one, our destination was Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. En route to the open waters we passed the Sandy Neck historic cottage colony and the Sandy Neck lighthouse and once out of the bay the vessel started to gather speed our guide pointed out places of interest along the shore including the Pilgrim Monument and there ensued a short history lesson about the Pilgrim Fathers and the Provincetown monument. At the tip of Cape Cod we passed the Race Point Lighthouse before entering open waters and heading for Stellwagen Bank.
Our naturalist told us how to go about spotting a whale, watch for blowholes and for fins and tails on the surface of the water, splashing out at sea may indicate whales as might groups of seabirds who might be feeding above whale activity.
We had only just passed beyond Provincetown when we noticed our first blowholes caused by a Fin back whale in the distance, we didn' t manage to get particularly close before the whale took a dive and didn' t resurface but we also spotted to a small Minke Whale in the same area. The boat always stopped or moved extremely slowly when whales were spotted so that we could enjoy watching them.
Further out we were treated to a mother and her calf swimming right alongside the boat for 20 minutes or so, the marine naturalist on board was able to identify this whale as one familiar to them, whose name was Salt. Later on we came across another mother and her calf whose name was Clipper and is known to be a great grandmother! They got much closer to the boat and again were alongside for 20 minutes or so, diving and chasing each other and generally putting on a great show for us!
On the way back to the harbour we spotted what our guide thought was probably our original Fin back whale, this time at much closer quarters. We also saw 2 or 3 Minke whales.
We had a great time, the weather was perfect and we saw an abundance of wildlife, it was a wonderful half days trip which I would certainly repeat, yet again and wouldn' t hesitate to recommend.
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Page added on: 10 January 2015
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