Yankee Fleet's knowledgeable naturalists narrate the tour with nuggets of whale wisdom, and on-board whale researchers are available to answer one-on-one questions. While eyes are sure to be filled with majestic sightings of mammalian sea beasts (if you don't see one, your next trip is free), the body's fellow senses won't be forgotten. Passengers may have the opportunity to listen to whale sounds, touch whale artifacts, help capture plankton, analyze water visibility, and measure how far away whales are by counting the seconds between their lightning flashes.
For more than three decades, Cape Ann Whale Watch has escorted spectators fascinated by the sea's magnificent giants on three- to four-hour treks 15 miles off the Gloucester coast. Passengers on the 115-foot professionally piloted Hurricane II can witness the natural grace of humpback whales, finback whales, dolphins, and pirates disguised as mermaids cavorting in the depths. In the course of the approximately 60-mile circuit, a member of Planet Whale narrates excursions, illumining the sight of each water dweller by discussing why whales breach, how to recognize individual humpbacks, and various feeding styles.
Launched in 1948 by Chicago shipwright Henry C. Grebe, the Full Moon is an antique, 65-foot motor yacht that ravels constantly. In the winters, it cruises the waters of southern Florida, but it returns to New England once it gets warmer, taking passengers on voyages throughout Boston Harbor. Onboard the Full Moon, passengers can take in skyline views and sunset vistas from the sea.
The refitted vessel features wooden decks and varnished rails, as well as intimate gathering areas and seating scattered across the boat. A sun-soaked bow presents passengers with unblocked views of the surroundings. The covered aft deck and indoor salon areas let passengers relax away from the elements.
Shopping excursions embark everyday except holidays and New England Patriots home-game days. Direct Boston hotel pickup is available for nonresidents, and area residents can embark at either the Back Bay station on Dartmouth Street at 8:30 a.m. or the South Station on Atlantic Avenue at 9 a.m. and head back to Boston at 4:15 p.m.
Located within walking distance of an ocean-side beach, the pet-friendly NASCAR RV Resort keeps campers comfortable with well-maintained campsites trumpeting a slew of amenities. Camping quartets pop a tent or stow a bungalow-on-wheels at one of the resort’s many sites, keeping creature comforts flowing with hook-ups for necessities, including water, electricity, and fondue. Occupy sunshine-drenched days fishing the stocked lake, swimming in the resort’s four pools, or parading about the four playgrounds, or settle vacation quarrels with old-fashioned rounds of horseshoes or shuffleboard. Visitors can also work up a sweat at the resort’s basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts, or make a gentlemanly wager at the 18-hole miniature-golf course.
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.
Mahi Mahi Harbor Cruises & Private Events was started in 2006 on a 55-foot sightseeing boat affectionately known as The Finback. Every day, she carries passengers on scenic tours through the North Shore. Bordered by Salem, Marblehead, Machester-by-the-Sea, Beverly, and the Misery Islands, the sound’s scenic shores are dotted with lighthouses, mansions, and greenery as verdant as a national Shrek convention. Narration helps passengers brush up on their local history as they nosh on fresh meals and sip tropical drinks from the onboard tiki bar. Larger groups can cruise the same waters on the company’s newly refurbished boat, The Hannah Glover, which accommodates up to 150 guests and boasts two bars.