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A Day Among the Whales

Last Sunday I had the privilege of spending the day with my dear friend, Kim and her husband Ken. It was Kim’s birthday and she has a tradition of going on a whale watch on her birthday. Luckily for me, she invited me along.

This was my first whale watch and I was well prepared with warm clothes, Dramamine, and my camera. We went out of Plymouth and headed towards the outside edge of Provincetown, which is where the whales like to hang out.

The boat ride itself was pleasant. The sky was blue and the water was bluer. It wasn’t very cold and before I knew it we were in whale territory. That’s when the fun started!

All the whales we saw were humpback whales and I believe we saw 5 or 6 total.

They pretty much stayed in a group, going back and forth and feeding. Right before the whales come up out of the water you can see bubbles and this beautiful neon green.

You can just see the green in the left edge of this photo.

These weren’t particularly large whales but they had beautiful tails.

And we were quite close to them – you can see the water dripping off the back of the fluke.

And you can see the barnacles on them, too!

It was incredibly peaceful to watch them go back and forth. They would usually lift their tails up out of the water, but not every time.

When they do lift their fluke, it creates this weird smooth surface on the water. There’s a name for it but I’ll be damned if I can remember what our guide called it. In any case, the water becomes completely smooth on the surface and stays that way for an unusual amount of time. It’s really neat.

Honestly, it was wonderful to just be in the presence of these magnificent creatures. It makes you realize how small you are and how big the world is and how much of it there is to see.

I’m glad I got to see this part of the world. And I’m especially glad I got to see it with friends.


This Post Has 23 Comments

  1. Great photographs! Glad you had a chance to go whale watching with Kim and Ken. It’s so much fun. The term you are trying to remember is “fluke print”. Each whale fluke is unique and research teams will photograph whales flukes for future identification. Also when they feed and stun the krill/ fish they eat is called a bubble cloud. They then rise through the cloud with open mouths for a huge mouthful food that is strained through their baleen.

  2. I did a whale watch in P town three or four years ago when I made my annual trip to the Cape in September and thought
    it was one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen. I
    just loved it. Your photos are beautiful!!

  3. Beautiful photos; I especially like the one of water cascading off the flukes (reminds me of the new 9/11 Memorial.) Here in Rockport, there is much about whales, of course. Plus, when our daughters were small, “The Voyage of the Mimi” was on PBS, and filmed with a local boat and local people. Look it up! It featured the child actor, Ben Affleck, from Cambridge.

  4. we love a whale watch! I think we head out 4-5 times per season out of Boston Harbor. I used to work the aquarium one when I was teaching, it was a hoot!

  5. What a memorable and incredible day! I feel awe at seeing your pictures and can image how wonderful and awe-inspiring it must have been. Thank you for sharing them!

  6. It was such an amazing day, wasn’t it? I am so happy you came along with us this year….maybe we can figure out a way to get Dale to come with us next year. 🙂


  7. Wow! What a cool way to celebrate a birthday! Thanks for sharing this amazing experience with us. (We just don’t get whales in the Great Lakes. . .)

  8. Mr beest and I were lucky enough to see a minke whale during our visit to the Isles of Scilly. (They are quite rare there) They’re the smallest whale, and this was a small specimen, but we were still suitably impressed. We felt very privileged to see this majestic creature, and your post just brought those memories back to the front of my mind.

  9. What wonderous creatures whales are … I’m so glad you got a beautiful day to enjoy them! Your pictures are glorious, but I’m guessing that in person they’re even more majestic and beautiful.

  10. What fun! A few years ago I went on a whale watch out of Gloucester, and it was so cool. The guides on the boat were beside themselves with excitement over how many whales we saw!

  11. I have lived in New England almost all my life, and have been to beaches in MA, NH, and ME many times, but I have never been on a whale watch. Thanks for the glimpse of what I’ve been missing! Beautiful pictures, and what a beautiful sunny day for your trip.

  12. Sigh. So beautiful, Carole. It’s been years (like 30ish) since I went whale watching. Like you, I find the ocean such a touch point. We are so small and the planet and it’s creatures more vast than we can really comprehend. The ocean always brings me to that simple truth, and I am reminded to have perspective. Thank you so much for sharing your day!

  13. Living in Texas, whale watching is not a common activity. When we took a cruise to Alaska recently, we worked in as much as we could. We took excursions to whale watch and we saw many and tried valiantly to photograph them and were unsuccessful. this may or may not have had to do with our crappy point and shoot camera, or perhaps more on it’s incompetent owners. We also saw otters and seals and I got so good at spotting them that the guide came over behind me and told everyone via the microphone when I spotted one. 🙂 So now my family calls me “the otter spotter” as those were my first spots, but soon enough it was whales too. They are amazing and then do make you feel like you are so small and insignifcant. And I loved watching the babies jumping.

    It must be so cool to live near them and get to see them on a regular basis. Thanks for all the beautiful pictures! They help me remember the cool weather on the 85th over 100 degree day this year. Come on FALL!

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