Is a Cape Cod Whale Watch Worthwhile?

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How long before we see the whales? Cape Cod, Mass. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

How long before we see the whales? Cape Cod, Mass. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

The first time I sign up for whale watching, on a trip to San Diego, I somehow manage to book myself on a pretty small boat on what I consider to be a pretty choppy ocean, or maybe it only seems that way because I am in the early weeks of pregnancy. So with those vaguely green-tinged memories, I am skeptical when the Brawny Sherpa proposes a whale watch out of Provincetown, Mass. I understand no one can ever make any guarantees, but will a whale watch be worthwhile during our very short stay on Cape Cod? Is it worth the time out from other activities we might undertake on this particular New England jaunt?

It is, and very quickly. We are on a big boat on a sunny day, and I don’t feel any choppiness, but then, I am also not pregnant. In San Diego all those years ago, I maybe saw a half-dozen whales after a very long boat ride. Off Cape Cod, we see dozens; we see mothers and calves; we see different species; we see spouts and tales and jumps.

A whale watch off Cape Cod, Mass. does not disappoint. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

A whale watch off Cape Cod, Mass. does not disappoint. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

I am also grateful that we learn a bit about efforts to save whales; about the rules applicable to boats engaging in the whale-watching industry; about the precautions those boats have to take to minimize the risk that a whale will be injured.

We go on a big boat, but smaller ones are available as well. Our view is fine; the boat is not too crowded, and we enjoy our adventure. Afterward, we still have time for a walk around Provincetown as we’d gotten up early for this whale watch and headed over to the dock before flocks of tourists were out and about.

—Lori Tripoli

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