Cape Cod Fishing Charters cast its first line in Provincetown more than 30 years ago. Back then, though, it was known as Top Rod Charters amongst a group of friends and fellow anglers. After a night of fishing, the group would meet at a local diner and compare their catches. The winner, of course, sat at the head of the table and ate for free.
But fishing in those days was a very different scene than the ones afforded by the current version of Cape Cod Charters. Today, the company features a fleet of safe, professionally operated boats. Aboard the vessels, groups receive as much or as little instruction as they want, all while using high-quality rods to reel in fish from the water or poke slumbering pirates that float by on inner tubes. Charters chase striped bass, tuna, cod, and more, and sometimes, appearances from seals and breaching whales make the experience all the more exciting.
When it comes to prototypical Cape Cod fishermen, Captain Bruce Peters is straight out of central casting. He’s a 16th-generation native with nearly 40 years of fishing experience, an affinity for old-school light tackle, and a 34’ boat named after his mom. At Capeshores Charters in Chatham, he welcomes groups of six aboard the Marilyn S. for seasonal expeditions in search of striped bass, bluefish, or bluefin tuna. Since he supplies all of the rods and reels, passengers can focus on the task at hand: catching some rays, scanning the water for fish, and reeling in the ocean’s bounty of sunken yachts. Captain Bruce takes part in the fun, as well, but as a US Coast Guard Master Captain, safety never strays too far from his thoughts.
Captain Brett Wilson once caught 60 giant bluefin tuna in one fishing season, a feat that’s more impressive when you realize that each fish weighed 500 pounds on average. Wilson, a second-generation fisherman who started casting at age 10, shares his expertise during half- and full-day fishing trips at Hindsight Sportfishing Charters. Aboard a 42-foot boat, he departs from Rock Harbor in search of bluefin tuna, striped bass, bluefish, and the elusive Poseidon family reunion.
Before the invention of modern nautical technology, sudden storms, dense fog, and strong currents provided a challenge for even the most seasoned sailors. These treacherous conditions proved insurmountable for many navigating the waters surrounding Nantucket, dashing vessels against the shoals and sinking more than 700 ships over the centuries. So many wrecks began to fill the floor of the waters around Nantucket Island that the area was referred to as "a graveyard of the Atlantic."
The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum honors the bravery of the local islanders—often members of organizations such as the Massachusetts Humane Society, United States Life-Saving Service, and the United States Coast Guard—who placed their own lives in danger by attempting to rescue the crews stranded aboard sinking ships. The museum's permanent collection, which consists of more than 5,000 pieces, gives guests an opportunity to learn more about these individuals' heroic efforts.
In addition to vintage photographs and exhibits recounting famous shipwrecks and the ensuing rescue attempts, the museum also features period artifacts that helped save lives. Additionally, the museum is a great place to take a bike ride or picnic on the beautiful grounds with views of the water.
Blackbeard and his notorious friends run the adventure-golf show at Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf. It's easy to imagine the pirates hiding across the cove's two courses—maybe inside a cave, lurking behind a waterfall, or waiting under a bridge. In reality, it's only pirate legends and themes that inhabit each hole's obstacles and winding greens. Plaques display exciting pirate tales, and a large, wooden pirate ship looms out on the water, its deck transformed into an adventure-golf hole. Nearby, Pirate's Cove Marketplace carries the apparel and accessories needed to strut a plank in style. The shop stocks pirate-themed costumes, books, and even treasure chests.
Sailing daily from MacMillan Wharf and stretching 39 feet lengthwise and 16 feet abeam, the Coast Guard–approved Viking Princess accommodates up to 42 passengers and two crewpersons per cruise. Several different cruise formats introduce water wanderers to coastal views of varying sites, such as Cape Cod’s prime real estate, well-known lighthouses, and hidden Provincetown gems. The Princess also embarks on festive holiday-themed voyages, such as Fourth of July or Tax Day cruises. Cape Cod Life's 2010 Gold winner for Best Kids' Activity, the Critter Cruise invites wee ones to pull up lobster pots and bottom dredges from the waters and safely inspect and handle the findings— such as blue fish, sea turtles, or humpback whales—alongside an expert naturalist. The Princess is wide enough to facilitate groups dancing to the sounds of the ship’s overhead stereo or to the tunes of local musicians during live-music cruises.