Last week I had the opportunity to go whale watching in Barnstable with Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises. Before coming to Cape Cod, I had heard about all the fantastic marine life off this unique spit of sand. During my first week here I was lucky enough to see Harbor Seals off of Race Point Beach in Provincetown. But I had yet to see any whales, and was excited to take to the high seas like a modern day Herman Melville.
I got up early in the morning, hoping to catch the earlier of the two daily cruises. Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises recommend arriving a least an hour prior to the cruise departure time – and I recommend calling ahead of time concerning availability and precise cruise times.
After a quick stop at Pie in the Sky for breakfast, I headed to Barnstable for the 9 am cruise (it’s about 50 minute drive from Woods Hole). Parking is an additional cost to tickets – around $15.00. I recommend arriving early so you can get good seats on the boat (but once the cruise begins everyone moves around and stands up).
The first hour is informational, as you make your way out of the harbor with stunning views of Sandy Neck Lighthouse and Provincetown. As you pass Provincetown, you head out towards the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary for the whale sightings — and the real excitement begins.
I had not anticipated how great, and close, the sightings would be! I recommend sitting at the top (open to those over 18 years old) since you can easily see all sides of the boat. We saw tons of Minke and Humpback whales, many with calves cavorting alongside them. It was amazing to see the whales catch fish and truly beautiful to watch them dive, flip their tails and empty their blowholes.
I highly recommend taking a whale watching cruise during your visit to Cape Cod. I was worried it might be touristy, or the whales would be hard to see, but I was very impressed with both the cruise and the staff. Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses and to dress in layers! The ship has tons of snack and drink options but feel free to bring your own as well.
After whale watching, I stopped by the Cape Cod Beer Micro Brewery that is just down the street for a quick tasting and to pick up a souvenir growler. Other nearby attractions includes the Oldest Wooden Jail in the United States, and the Coast Guard Heritage Museum. If you are looking for a bite to eat Osterville Fish Too is right next to the Whale Watcher Cruises parking lot. I tried the XL lobster roll and it was delicious!
I hope you get a chance to spend a day with the whales like I did – it was really unforgettable!
— by Megan Jensen