When our oldest was one, we began a tradition of taking my mom on a whale watch. Every year we trek down to Provincetown for the first boat of the day. There is an amazing Portuguese bakery where we get coffee and croissants and then we are off to visit the whales.
This was our sixth whale watch and each one has been completely different. Of course the weather varies, but so do the whales. When I was younger, the humpbacks had pretty much left the area and you were lucky to see a minke whale or maybe a fin back. This year we saw minke whales on our way out of the harbor. It wasn’t long until we were surrounded by humpbacks feeding.
The whales were bubble feeding, where they essentially work together, swimming in circles, blowing bubbles and basically trapping the fish. Then they swim up the center, mouth open to eat the prey. We had learned about bubble net feeding at the Mystic Aquarium on a family trip. The kids were so excited to see it in person. We were literally surrounded by bubble nets. There were some whales swimming across the surface with their mouths open, drag feeding. Often when you go on a whale watch, you see the large backs and of course the fluke (tail). Rarely do you see the head so well.
The kids’ experience has been different every year. In the beginning they just knew everyone was excited and they could see the whales but didn’t really understand. Now they have read about whales, seen information in aquariums and local museums. Our youngest, kept going inside to our stuff to circle the animals we were seeing in the guide they gave us.
It was also the first year that the boys were spotting whales themselves. Having so many nearby helped, but they were getting good at spotting spouts and fins. Even the youngest was pointing away. Watching them put all of their resources together was really fun. They knew lots of information and they were excited to share. When they didn’t know something, they asked. It was a great experience for all of us.