About two years ago, Alfred and I went whale watching off the coast of Massachusetts. At first, I didn’t think we’d see any whales because…well, frankly, they’re whales and they do what they want. But we rode the boat out and it was pretty awesome. Apparently, the whales were overly active the day we went out and we saw tons of them (literally).
They were jumping out of the water and coming up to the surface as they gulped huge quantities of emerald seawater which was brimming with krill. At one point, we even saw a mother and her calf spring out of the water. The calf seemed to be showing off as it did this quite a few times.
It was incredible to witness such large, majestic creatures. I think we saw two different species of whales that time, humpback whales and right whales. Both these species are endangered which is rather sad. At one point in history, the Massachusetts area was the whaling capital of the US. Whales were hunted for their blubber used to light lamps and their ambergris used in perfumes, spices, and medicine. Humans hunted these amazing creatures to the point of near-extinction. Luckily, legislation was put in place to protect these creatures and today we have the privilege of witnessing them in their natural habitats.
1) Take a Camera
If you are at all into photography, or even if you are not, take a camera. These are HUGE sea creatures that you don’t get to see everyday. It’s well worth snapping a few good photos. Just be sure to take a camera strap for added security. You don’t want your camera going overboard. [I actually shot the photo at the top of this blog post…I’m a professional photographer in my off time]
2) Prepare for Rough Waters
In order to see the whales, the boat has to leave the protection of the harbor. Once you’re out on the sea, the water can get a bit rocky. It can also be a little bit chillier than on land. One more thing, there will be a ton of mist coming off the sea. So you might want to take a jacket or raincoat. Last thing…the boats have to cut their engines off to get close to the whales. Once that happens, it’ll literally rock back and forth and up and down to the same rhythm as the ocean. Sea sickness happens.
Following up to the last point, if you get seasick easily, take some Dramamine or some other motion sickness medicine. If you don’t know if you get seasick easily, take Dramamine anyway. I didn’t take any because I though I could handle it. Boy, was I wrong! Towards the end I became pretty seasick. My legs were shaking, my head began to ache, and I felt fairly nauseous…basically, I was ready to be back on land. Pro Tip: If you become seasick, stare at the horizon. It should help your head become level again and can help with that sick feeling.
4) Enjoy It
Not everyone gets to see whales this close-up. You’re within meters of one of the largest animals on Earth…how amazing is that! While I advocate taking photos, don’t experience it all from behind the lens of a camera. Enjoy what this world has to offer and be in the moment!
Whale watching was one of those bucket list items for me and it was totally worth it. Alfred and I both felt humbled by the massive size of these creatures and their majestic beauty. If you have the opportunity…take it!