Whale Watching in Provincetown

Geek Culture

We just arrived back in Canada after an action-packed two weeks (so much for “relaxing”) in Provincetown, on Cape Cod. One of the highlights of the trip that might be of interest to GeekDad readers was an afternoon excursion of whale watching.

We’ve taken the kids to Marineland several times, but watching Dolphins, Orcas and Beluga whales in captivity is not quite the same as being able to see one of the great whales in its natural environment. We sailed on the Captain Red, an 80 foot ship run by Portuguese Princess out of Provincetown -a company affiliated with the Provincetown Center For Coastal Studies (PCCS). As part of this partnership, a researcher from PCCS accompanies the tour, acting as a guide and also collecting data for their ongoing whale study programs. The PCSS headquarters (which we also visited) houses whale exhibits that give visitors the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the various marine mammals native to the area.

Once onboard the Captain Red, the kids were pumped and rushing from rail to rail; I, on the other hand, quickly discovered that my susceptibility to motion sickness quite handily translates into sea sickness. Gravol and a helpful Acupuncturist who happened to be on the ship weren’t sufficient to get me back in the game. While their old man was retching in a garbage bag for several hours in the choppy sea, the kids and my wife were treated to some incredible sights including Fin, Minke and Humpback whales, with some fully leaping out of the water.

As an added bonus, at one point we noticed a distinct dorsal fin in the water and the guide pointed out that we were being followed by a 25 foot long Basking shark –he lurked just beneath the surface and cruised alongside the ship for a good fifteen minutes (the third photo below). My wife has a fear of sharks, and local newspapers had just reported that Great Whites had been spotted attacking seals off of a nearby beach, so this visual reminder of what’s in the water (even if the Basking shark is pretty much incapable of attacking humans) didn’t do much to set her mind at ease.

By the time we made port again, we were all feeling a little under the weather. But the experience was well worth it. We did go back onto the beach eventually, but no-where near the seals and we left the black wetsuits behind when venturing into the water.




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