Subject: Whale watching in New England

S. Jones (betej@u.washington.edu)
Sun, 19 Jul 1998 17:21:41 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 19 Jul 1998, B. G. Simons wrote:

> Dear Bete-
> 
> Thank you for being available to answer questions.  Bill and I want to go
> whale watching next week and we would appreciate your advice on whether to
> try Massachusetts (Cape Cod or Cape Ann) or Maine (Bar Harbor or Boothbay),
> 
> Where would we see the most whales and the most interesting whales?  Do
> whales move north or south for the summer?  Do you have any
> recommendations?
> 
> Thank you very much for you assistance.  Happy whale watching!
> 
> Gail Simons
> 
> 
Dear Gail,

At this time of year, the kinds of whales you are most likely to see off
the coasts of Massachusetts or Maine are humpback whales, fin whales,
right whales and minke whales.  In general, whales (in both hemispheres)
move from the equator to the poles in the respective summer times to feed
in cooler waters.  In terms of the most interesting whales to see, I think
they are all spectacular, but the humpback whales display the most aerial
behavior of the species I mentioned above.  The northern right whale is
the most endangered of the large whales, the fin whale is the closest in
size to the blue whale, and the minke whale is a smaller whale, but one of
the most abundant.

I did some searching on the internet for whale watch tours and came up
with the following information.  In either place, you are most likely to
see right whales and humpbacks.  If you look on the whalenet web page at
http://whale.wheelock.edu/whalenet-stuff/whalewatch.html, you will find a
list of the New England whale watch tours that are associated with the web
page.  Links are provided to the different companies' web pages so you can
get more information.  These tours are more geared toward education than
some of the others you may find.  In addition to learning about whales,
they also give information on the natural history of the area, sea birds,
and other marine life.

One option would be to go on a tour with the New England Aquarium.  They
sail from Boston Harbor to Stellwagen Bank.  Their web site is         
http://www.neaq.org/visit/whalewatch.html.But, if you go to Maine, you
could also visit Acadia National Park.  You may want to go with a
company that offer a money-back guarantee if you don't see whales.  There
is always a chance that you won't!

If you are interested in learning more about marine mammals in your area, 
a good source of information is the Northeast Fisheries Science Center at
http://www.wh.whoi.edu/nefsc.html.

Hope this information helps and you get to see some whales!  Let me know
if I can answer any more questions for you.

Thanks,
Bete