Print this articleEmail to a friendUnforgettable Whale Watches
This region of the ocean is dominated by shallow, underwater plateaus carved by glaciers during the last great ice age.These ledges & banks create a rich and productive marine habitat that attracts many species of whales.
Tens of thousands visitors to our area annually venture out of Gloucester Harbor on their quest to experience these great whales. There are several excellent whale watch companies in Gloucester, each with an
onboard naturalist to help identify the whales and describe their behaviors. All of the companies are committed to education and environmental awareness. They all guarantee sightings and promise you an unforgettable memory and a deeper appreciation for these magnificent animals. Your trip to Gloucester is not complete without a trip to watch the whales.
Finback, minke, northernright, and sei whales are regularly seen off Gloucester, but it’s the acrobatic humpbacks that are the whale watchers’ favorites. A lively bunch, you might see them breaching, rolling, tail slapping or even investigating the whalewatch boat. They are truly among the world’s most spectacular whales. Whale watch season runs from mid-April through October, when the whales migrate back to their winter calving grounds in the Caribbean. They return in spring to the productive waters of New England to feed on huge schools of baitfish like herring or sand lance.
Other marine life often sighted on these trips include a wide variety of seabirds, tuna and other gamefish, harbor seals, dolphins, ocean sunfish and many more.
The population of humpback whales that returns to feed here each summer is one of the most thoroughly researched and well understood populations of whales anywhere in the world. Naturalists know the names, families, and histories of many individual whales and can track their movements year after year. Mothers bring their new calves to the feeding grounds where they first learn to hunt and feed on their own.
Complete your whale experience with a visit to Gloucester’s own Whale Centerof New England, www.whalecenter.org, a non-profit celebrating its 30th anniversary year studying and conserving the whales off of our coast. The Center is located downtown on Harbor Loop, and has a Visitor Center that is open daily (free, donations accepted). Here you can learn about local whales and the problems they face, see many whale photos and artifacts, and even come eye-to-eye with a skeleton of a humpback whale.
Other Recent Articles from the Fun Reading Category:
- Gloucester Harbor Live Cam
- Gloucester's History
- Shopping in Gloucester
- The Greasy Pole
- Lobster Rolls 101
- The Fishermen’s Memorial and the Fishermen’s Wives Memorial
- Beer Battered Cod
- Rum Runners
- Hit the Beach
- Draggers and Trawlers and Dories, oh my!