August 20, 2012 § 7 Comments
On Saturday morning, I reached one of my lifelong goals: I saw a humpback whale.
When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my parents adopted a whale for my sister, brother, and I as a Christmas gift. We all thought it was so cool – we could tell our friends that we got something bigger than a car for a present! Its name was Crystal, even though it was a boy whale, and we’d get newsletters and pictures of his fluke (tail) in the mail. After a few years, Jenn and Ryan kind of lost interest in the whale, but I had it renewed every year for about 5 years. I went through a very dorky rainforest/aquatic animal/World Wildlife Foundation phase so this was very important to me. Ever since we adopted Crystal the male whale, I wanted to see one in real life.
One of Nick’s best friends, Mike, lives in outside Boston in Massachusetts with his girlfriend Jaime. We decided to go up to visit and Mike was kind enough to arrange a whale watching cruise for us early on Saturday morning.
The weather was kind of bad – not stormy, just rainy, cold and windy. I think it kind of worked out though because our boat wasn’t too full. We boarded one of Captain John’s boats at Plymouth Harbor and set off at 9:00. We zoomed out into the ocean pretty fast in this boat. It was a very windy ride. Joanne, the guide, explained over the loudspeaker that we were headed to the area whales were last seen the night before. Sure enough, before long we spotted our first whale.
It looks quite small here, but you could see it spouting water out of its blowhole from far away. We pulled up closer and realized there were two whales traveling together.
When I first saw these whales, I was dumbfounded. I was trying to take it all in while taking photos at the same time. My legs were actually wobbly at the sight and realization of what I was seeing – two endangered creatures I’ve been dreaming about seeing in their natural habitat for 20 years. I mean, how lucky am I?
After a while of watching these two guys, the captain decided to leave them alone so we could continue cruising into the ocean to see who else we could find. While we waited, Joanne regaled us of whale stories and facts. She started to tell us about Salt, the world’s most famous humpback whale. She was the first whale they studied and realized they could tell all whales apart by the markings on their flukes. This jogged my memory and I remembered reading about this whale in my adoption newsletters. Then she says that Salt was spotted just a day or so ago, traveling with her calf, a male whale named Crystal. I got excited and told Nick “That’s my whale!” and he was like “Sure it is…” I headed up to the upper deck immediately to ask Joanne what the chances were that I adopted this Crystal the whale over 20 years ago. She smiled and told me that’s him – they don’t use names more than once, that’s my whale.
Well if I wasn’t already excited (which I was), now I was REALLY EXCITED. I was in Crystal’s neighbourhood, I really wanted to see him!
A while later, we saw two more humpbacks and a minke whale. They put on a little show for us, diving deeper with their tails shooting out of the water.
During our 6 hour trip, we saw seven humpback whales, one minke whale, and a seal. I didn’t end up seeing my old buddy Crystal, but I was happy to know he was somewhere around me and doing well.
If you’re looking for somewhere to go whale watching, I would totally recommend Captain John’s in Massachusetts. Check our their blog here, you can even see more photos and videos from our cruise!
And, you can see all of my whale photos on Flickr.