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Whale Watching - East Coast

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May 15th, 2009, 06:31 AM
  #1
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Whale Watching - East Coast

Hi, my husband and I are going away for a few days. Neither of us has ever gone whale watching so we're thinking of doing that. All of the boat tour websites say they run until mid-late Oct - but I'm wondering if it really is a good time to go? We would be going in the middle of September. We only have 4 days and 3 nights so I'd like to keep the driving time to no more than 6 hours (we'd be driving from the NYC area). Can anyone recommend some good towns? We'd like a nice area but nothing too stuffy - we're not looking to hang with the Kennedy's lol. Ideally we want to spend time hiking or biking as well. It might seem like a long drive but we don't mind spending time in the car and seeing even one whale cresting would be a huge deal for me. We were planning to go back to Middlebury, VT but now we're thinking whales. Thanks in advance for your tips!
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May 15th, 2009, 06:35 AM
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The latest I go, is August. I've had too many fall boat tours canceled due to weather- rough seas. I go at least 6 trips/summer and have been doing so for years.

I go out of Gloucester. The other location is Cape Cod. You DO NOT want to really consider going out of Boston- take a look at a map, these tours have to transit 30 mins. more in each direction, eating up valuable time.

This season is peak for humpbacks, the food range can be 15-25 miles out. This is a "close" year, meaning, more sightings.
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May 15th, 2009, 06:52 AM
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I do like Cape Cod. Unfortunately I have to take the trip in September. It would have been better if I was born in August, I guess but it's too late to do anything about that now. Did I mention it's for my birthday? You have lots of experience - in your opinion is it worth it at all to even try in mid Sept?
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May 15th, 2009, 07:30 AM
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September is still good for whale watching off the Cape. You'll probably see humpbacks and perhaps finbacks. The shortest run to the grounds is from Provincetown. Wellfleet is a nice town to stay in, about a half hour drive to the docks.

http://www.whalewatch.com/
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May 15th, 2009, 09:23 AM
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Thank you! I think Provincetown might be a bit too far. The first trip we ever took together was to Cape Cod so I do think we're going to go there. We stayed in Sandwich the first time and we had such a great time. It looks like there are tours that go from Barnstable. The suites at the Dan'l Webster Inn are very tempting!
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May 15th, 2009, 09:30 AM
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Keep in mind that regardless of where you leave from, the boats all go to the same area....Stellwagen bank.

We have actually gone as late as Halloween and had terrific sightings. I would recommend that you watch the weather reports carefully and pick the day with the least wind and calmest seas. Generally speaking, the morning is calmer than the afternoon.

I so love doing this and I think you will enjoy it!!
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May 15th, 2009, 09:44 AM
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Wow, thanks. I'm really excited!
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May 15th, 2009, 09:44 AM
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Have done whale watching from Montauk in end of Sept. Saw a couple of full grown ones and a calf that was playing with the boat (popping up first on one side and then the other - and staring at us).

The boat was large but you definitely needed dramamine - the operator recos it for everyone - since it is the north atlantic.
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May 15th, 2009, 09:46 AM
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Didn't know about the Barnstable boat -- looks like a good choice, although the run to the grounds will be longer.
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May 15th, 2009, 10:02 AM
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We'll take dramamine and call it a romantic cruise. haha.
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May 15th, 2009, 10:42 AM
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We went in Boston in mid-September, and we saw quite a few humpbacks. I took Dramamine and still felt queasy; our boat was rocking like crazy, but it was still a lot of fun.
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May 15th, 2009, 11:13 AM
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What about driving up to P-town for the day and going from there? You could stop in Wellfleet on the way there or back. The Dolphin Fleet is great www.whalewatch.com and it's a lot shorter trip. Last year was a great year and the whales were around for the whole season. I went in May and we hardly left the harbor!
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May 15th, 2009, 11:53 AM
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That's a great idea. It's about an hour away but it will be the only driving we're doing on that day. They have a lot more tours going so we can pick what time to go. It would also let us see more of the cape. Is there a better time of day to go or is it all pretty much the same? If they tend to be more active in the morning or evening I'd love to plan for that. Wellfleet is nice? The tour closer to Sandwich only went out at 12. With the better times we can stop and spend some time somewhere and have a meal. I'll check out Wellfleet!
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May 15th, 2009, 12:16 PM
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Wellfleet is a charming Cape village. Small shops and art galleries. Good food. Mac's shack for casual, Winlsow's Tavern for nicer www.winslowstavern.com . Plus lots of other choices.

I have mentioned this before but on the way to P-town is The Atlantic Spice Company www.atlanticspice.com . They sell spices in wholesale quantities or you can get smaller amounts. If you like to cook it's a good place to stop. They have other cooking things too and gift items. It's in Truro just off Route 6.

I would call the 800 number and ask about the activity. I would probably take an earlier tour and work my way back. There are lots of places to see in P-town too. If you are staying in Sandwich I would allow at least an hour and a half. You need to allow time to park and walk to the pier. You will also be on a two lane stretch of Route 6 and could be behind a slow driver.

I hope you do a trip report
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May 15th, 2009, 12:45 PM
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The atlantic spice company is a definite stop! I'd prefer to take the earliest cruise so maybe we could have a little breakfast in P-town and then work our way back slowly after. Maybe I'll check out Wellfleet this weekend and decide whether or not to stay in Sandwich. It has sentimental appeal though and our 5th anniversary is a few weeks before my birthday. It's funny how trips get planned sometimes. We heard the word "whale" yesterday on the radio in the car and we both looked at each other and said "that's what we should do for the birthday trip". Now I can't wait to go and I'm teary eyed remembering our first trip. Ahh, I love travel. I'm usually bashful about the trip reports but I will force myself!
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