You're rarely guaranteed to see a whale, unless you go to the aquarium or you're watching Free Willy very carefully. For passengers with Plymouth Whale Watch, however, sightings are guaranteed?if you don't see a whale on your trip you can come back again until you do see one. The expert crew helps passengers spot species from humpback whales to pilot whales during trips that traverse North Atlantic waters en route to Stellwagen Bank. On the boat's lower deck and roomy sun decks, passengers might also spot porpoises, seals, and dolphins. Between sightings, patrons can listen to the crew's historical tidbits about Plymouth, and head to a galley that's stocked with food and drinks.
Such scenes, part of Cape Cod’s natural magic, are not lost on Bob Wilds. A retired whale watcher, Bob resides in the Cape year-round. He founded Great Marsh Kayak Tours in hopes of sharing the beauty that surrounds him daily. Bob leads family-friendly adventures, such as the Naturalist’s Dream tour, which immerses groups in the majestic salt marshes and explores how early Cape Cod settlers used this environment to survive. All tours employ the services of the Esperanto, a comfy, easy-to-paddle kayak with ample storage capacity for personal belongings and the native kettle chips found floating in the water.
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.
Cape Cod Bay stretches out in all directions, its waters glittering under an azure sky. Here, razor bills, petrals, and shearwater circle over the cresting waves. Occasionally, a massive black flank breaks the surface, and a whale sprays a fountain of blow toward the sun. Such is the typical scene enjoyed by the passengers, U.S. Coast Guard–licensed captain, and crew aboard a Capt. John Boats tour.
Following more than six decades of tradition, the company's boats embark on whale-watching tours of Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagen Bank, passing landmarks such as Gurnet Light and Clark's Island on their quest to find local sea birds and marine life. All the while, on-board naturalists educate passengers about the local ecosystem. But Capt. John Boats' excursions aren't limited to observation—the boats also depart for private and group fishing trips ranging from just a few hours to multiple days. By dropping anchor or drifting with the tide, the captain teaches groups to ply the waters of local fishing grounds for seasonal catches.
One of the largest conservation organizations in New England, Mass Audubon cares for 34,000 acres of natural land in a network of more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Its
members receive free admission to these pacific preserves, where, alongside more than 150 endangered or threatened native species, they can breathe in Mother Nature?s perfume or have a good cry on her mossy bosom. During bird-migration season, alert gazes can capture some 300 species of sky surfer at Allens Pond on the South Coast, and visitors to Lincoln?s Drumlin Farm can re-enact Charlotte's Web with a motley band of sheep, cows, goats, and pigs.
As the sun makes its retreat into the horizon, the whales of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary come out to play. Their elephantine fins slap the waters with such zeal that the pod seems to be putting on a performance for the catamaran of whale watchers in their midst. This end-of-day nature show experienced by passengers aboard Boston's Best Cruises’ New England Aquarium Whale Watch is hardly a rarity, as the ship’s crews guarantee sightings of these gentle giants with each excursion.
Champions of the natural beauty of Boston Harbor and the area’s rich maritime history, Boston's Best Cruises’ expert crew sets sail on cruises to suit all manner of interest. Along with their whale watches, Boston’s Best Cruises whisks passengers away on Harbor Cruises that grant unimpeded views of the Boston skyline and the King Kongs pumping fists within its skyscrapers. The Salem Ferry facilitates leisurely cruises between Boston and the historic city, and aquatic outings to the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area enable activities such as sunset clambakes, hiking, and fishing.