Sailing in Amesbury


Select Local Merchants

Established by Captain Red Hilton in 1967, Newburyport Whale Watch was among the first seagoing outfits dedicated to whale watching in the Gulf of Maine. Passengers hop aboard a boat whose top speed gets them out to prime whale grounds quickly and dissuades punk dolphins from trying to start dangerous drag races. Staying abreast of current sightings, the cruises rarely fail to find some frolicking whales, often seeing humpbacks, minke whales, and even the occasional blue whale. During the tour, a naturalist from the Blue Ocean Society dispenses facts about the majestic mammals to curious guests. An onboard galley offers snacks, beer, and wine.
54 Merrimac St.
Newburyport,
MA
US
Foote Brothers Canoe and Kayak outfits canoers with the paddle-driven vessels they need to power across the surface of the Ipswich River, charting a downstream course through a wildlife sanctuary and the majestic Wenham wetlands. After a shuttle bus drops them off at Salem Road in Topsfield, up to four adventurers strap on lifejackets and step into a sturdy 15- or 17-foot Grumman canoe to commence their waterborne odyssey. Paddlers adjust to the natural rhythms of the wetlands surrounding them, lifting their oars in musical unison with the warbling birds and beat-boxing brown trout that populate the river’s forested wildlife sanctuary.
230 Topsfield Rd
Ipswich,
MA
US
While the 90-foot long Thomas E. Lannon schooner boasts many impressive characteristics?including a 64.5-foot deck, a spacious 18-foot beam, and a resemblance to a 1903 sword-fishing schooner?none of them rivals the story of how the vessel got its name. Before the ship was built in 1997, owner Tom Ellis was visiting his relatives in Newfoundland when he overheard them reciting stories of his grandfather Thomas Lannon, who had fished the Gloucester coastline for more than 40 years. On one particularly stormy day in 1908, Lannon and five other men set out into the waters off Nauset aboard two dories and rescued the crew of the capsized schooner Eric amid 70-mph winds. Each of the rescuers received the eternal admiration of the rescued men and a medal from the Massachusetts Humane Society, which Ellis possesses to this day. More than a century later, the crew of the Thomas E. Lannon keeps its namesake's love of the sea alive by chartering an array of sailing voyages that have attracted more than 100,000 passengers to date. After helping raise the sails at the voyage?s start, passengers capture vivid views of Gloucester harbor's lighthouses, castles, and beaches.
63 Rogers St.
Gloucester,
MA
US
Since 1979, the whale-watching pioneers of Cape Ann Whale Watch have escorted more than half a million spectators fascinated by the sea's magnificent leviathans on three- to four-hour treks 15 miles off the Gloucester coast, earning it a spot on the Top 5 American Whale-Watching Tours by Joshua Horwitz, author of War of the Whales. Aboard the lightning-fast 115-foot Hurricane II, passengers can witness the natural grace of humpback whales, finback whales, dolphins, and pirates disguised as mermaids feeding and frolicking just feet from the boat. In the course of the approximately 30-mile circuit, a naturalist from Whale Cetacean Alliance narrates excursions, illumining the sight of each water dweller by discussing why whales breach, how to recognize individual humpbacks, and various feeding styles.
415 Main Street
Gloucester,
MA
US
As many as 15 species of whales populate the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The mission of 7 Seas Whale Watch is to bring passengers within eyeshot of these enormous sea creatures as they thrash about, breaking the water's surface with their enormous heft and diving gracefully back below. Seven of the species that populate the area are defined as great whales, which means they reach 30-feet at full growth. So while the tours spend 90 minutes in the whales' feeding area, customers might spot humpback whales, finback whales, minke whales, and even Atlantic white-sided dolphins. As the whales appear, grandiose and graceful, an on-staff naturalist describes the different species and their behaviors. Though whale sightings are never guaranteed?the whales are wild and act entirely on their own whims, much like tenured philosophy professors?7 Seas boasts a 99% success rate for spotting whales, and they offer free rain checks if whales don't appear. Customers scan the seas from the sun decks or heated cabins of The Privateer IV, a Coast Guard?certified boat with modern accommodations. The boat was built to accommodate 300 passengers, though 7 Seas' trips top out at 149 passengers to ensure space, comfort, and a good view.
63 Rogers St.
Gloucester,
MA
US
When the Ice Age ended more than 15,000 years ago, melting glaciers created the saltwater estuary that today sustains the Essex River’s myriad boaters, clammers, and fisherman. Amid this naturally beautiful backdrop, Essex River Cruises and Charters floats its two handsome spectator vessels, the Essex River Queen I and the Essex River Queen II. Guides lead daily, narrated cruises through the estuary, navigating the protected waters and pointing out the various local flora and fauna of the salt marsh. Cruises embark daily from May to October and also include weekend cruises accompanied by coffee and muffins, during which passengers are serenaded by the plaintive cries of pelicans begging for the love of a good man. The fleet is also available for group tours and charters for up to 100 passengers at a time, and the staff caters signature clambakes and other events along the tidal beach. The cruise-curators even make big days memorable, transporting wedding parties to any of the many secluded tidal beaches in Essex Bay for ceremonies or receptions.
35 Dodge St
Essex,
MA
US
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