Last weekend we took my Mom to Maine to stay with friends. It was a very nice day on Friday, as we drove across Vermont, New Hampshire and into Maine, the back way. Saturday morning Deb and I got up and headed south. I had booked us on an afternoon whale watch out of Gloucester, Ma. The weather was questionable as it was socked in with fog and mist. As we approached Massachuesetts I called and was reassured by the staff that the boat would be sailing and that we would see whales.
Some teaser pictures to get you to the web-site.
After arriving in Gloucester we found our departure point, parked the car and then did a walking tour, which included breakfast at Cameron’s. This resturant had the feel of being a favorite of the locals as the waitress seemed to know the other customers. The food was good and the price reasonable for breakfast. We continued our tour, killing time, waiting for our departure, which was scheduled for 1 PM. Of course I collected some pictures , which can be seen here.
The boat was delayed coming in from the morning run and we learned it was because the whales were working off the south end of the Stellwagen Bank, closer to Cape Cod. We finally got to load up and pulled out closer to 2PM. There was a narration about the harbor and some of the features/buildings. Gloucester is the oldest seaport in the US. Then it was out to the open water. Once clear of the harbor the Captain, put the “pedal to the metal” and the naturalist notified us that we would be bypassing the northern portion of the bank to head straight to where the whales were in the morning. The whale watch companies work together and keep each other posted on where the whales are.
After about an hour ride we arrived on station and immediately hooked up with whales. There were two female/calf pairs that we monitored primarily, Livielier and Anvil put on a nice display, but there were no full body breaches. We saw mostly lobtailing and one calf did a partial breach to get a better look at the boat. The Captain did a great job of keeping us on top of the whales. I was using my 55-200 mm lens, which was mostly set at 55mm as the whales were very close to the boat. At times you had to look over the rail along the boat to see the whales. I have included a series of pictures from the trip.
Now for some travel advice. For a whale watch your best bet is the afternoon trips. First they will have found the whales in the morning and spend less time searching for them. Once found the morning trip doesn’t have the latitude to stay longer than scheduled because of the afternoon departure. The afternoon trip gives you time to get there and more time to stay on the whales once they are found. The 7 Seas Whale Watch is a great group, very friendly informed crew. The trip out was a bit windy and crew members offered us coats if we were cold. Come on, we live in Central NY, a sea breeze on a 76 degree day is not going to make us cold!
After the boat returned we went to dinner across the street at the Topside Grill. We had reservations for 5 PM but it was closer to 6:30 PM when we arrived. We were seated immediately and had a wonderful meal. I picked the resturant because it had our favorite Merlot on the wine list, Red Rock. Deb had a strip steak that she said was very good. Me, Seafood of course. A lobster pie.
I booked a hotel in Lexington as at the time of booking our plans were not set on where we would spend Saturday, whale watch or Boston. It was my first, but will not be my last experience with the aloft hotels. Very nice, modern, Euro-minimalist, room. No frills, no side chairs, armoire, light stands, big closet. A very comfortable bed, nice linen, large flat-screen, a simple desk, free wireless (you don’t get that in big hotels), a large spa style shower, and a modern sink. And the best part it was cheap for the ratings it was getting. Most of the hotels I end up in on travel are over appointed for my needs. All I need is a bed, shower, and TV. This hotel fit the bill nicely. I highly recommend the chain to anyone traveling. There are about 25 now and more to be added over the next couple of years.
I have another entry from the weekend, but will write that later.
Thanks for stopping by