Thursday, September 24, 2015

Cape Cod Whale Watching Adventure—Fabulous!!!

The weather was perfect today.  We left our campground in Sandwich, MA headed to the Hyannis Whale Watching company; about 30 minutes away.  We wanted to allow extra time in case we get lost or have trouble finding parking.  Ok, to be honest George and I are very time compulsive and we both HATE to be late.  As it turns out we left at a perfect time.  We easily found the location and parking was a breeze… albeit a $15/car parking breeze.

Within 15 minutes people were lining up to get on the boat.  45 minutes before we were scheduled to pull away from the dock, they started boarding.  We were thrilled to get great seats on the top level next to the edge.  George was glad to have a seat under an awning that would provide some shade for him and I was glad to have a seat in the sun with a fabulous view.  (Not that there was a bad view on this boat.)

A naturalist served as our tour guide for the cruise.  He offers fun facts throughout the tour about the area and whales and a variety of wildlife.

We travel about an hour before the captain slows the boat because “blow holes have been spotted”.  We were told to watch for the “B’s”:  Birds, Bubbles, Blows (from blow holes) and Body parts outside the water.

We had been told that whales do not punch a time clock and we will be lucky if we see whales.  Everyone on the boat was anxious to catch the first glimpse of a whale, or even a really big fish. 

As if almost on cue, passengers start pointing.  There are whales surfacing all around us.  We start to see whale blows.

It is shocking how fast the whales move—they come out of the water often before we can focus our camera.  Some of the photos that I am using on this post are from the internet.  Every picture that I have used is an example of whales activities that we saw but our camera was not able to capture the sight.

We can hardly believe our eyes—it seems as if whales are all around us. 

Today we are seeing Humpback Whales.  We see large whales and several whale calves.  These adult whales are generally 35-50 feet long and weigh up to 40 tons.
These ginormous mammals are only mid-size—from a whale perspective.   Crazy! 
Humpback whales get their name “Humpback” from a small hump on their back.
Humpback whales have a black body with white flippers.  Several times on our journey we are excited to the whales we are visiting smacking their white flippers (fins) on the water.  When the fins hit the water we are able to hear a loud crash sound.  The Humpback whale flippers can reach up to 15 feet. 
The back tail is called a fluke.  A Humpback Whale fluke will vary in color from all white to all black and everything between.  Every whale tale is unique to the whale.  Our naturalist explained they are able to identify individual whales by the fluke. 
In addition to the different color patterns, there are of course gashes and scratches.
The whales were so close to our boat we were able to see the scratches on their bodies. 

Humpback Whales are Baleen Whales—whales without teeth.  These baleen plates are on the side of their mouths.  It allows the whales to scoop their fish dinner without getting a mouth full of water.  

We saw groups of whales feeding.  Some working together and some appear to be working on their own.   Before a single whale or a group of whale surfaces; we see an area of bubbles and a section of water turns an aqua marine color. 
Every time we saw the bubbles or water color change—we knew something exciting was going to happen.  The whales would surface with their mouths open scooping up their fish buffet.
We stayed and watched these whales for almost 2 hours!  It is FABULOUS!!! 
I know they were feeding, they have to eat tons of food every day.  But it was as if these whales were putting on a “wild life show” just for us.  They seemed to be so playful.     

In some cases they almost seemed to taunting each other.  One whale would smack its tail on the water surface and another whale would follow.  This act of “tail smacking” is called tail lobbing.

When any part of a whales’ body comes out of the water it is called “breaching”.  We were told we were seeing more breaches than they had seen all season.  It seemed as if some of the whales took flight out of the water.  As they project their body out of the water; they roll and land like thunder back into the water.  It is almost unimaginable that 40 tons goes airborne so easily. 
Our tour ends 4 hours later.  We were all thrilled with our experience.  I could have never imagined the amount of whale activity we would see and how close they would come to us.  

Several times I was able to see directly into a whales’ mouth as they were eating.

We will all remember this day forever. 

Words are not adequate to describe the excitement we felt seeing these magnificent creatures.  It is another example of God’s love for us that He would provide such beauty for us to behold.  At the end of the day, we are all reminded how blessed we are to have this full time RV lifestyle that allows for adventures like Whale Watching.  

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