Last summer was a total dud as far as spending time outdoors is concerned. I think I made it to the beach a grand total of 2 times, even though I lived in South Boston mere steps from the beach, and had a car which made accessing coastal areas easy. So this summer, I vowed to change that. I still haven’t made it to the beach nearly as many times as I’d like, but I have been making a point to get outside more often, and even took my first trip out to the Harbor Islands recently. As luck would have it, the very week after I visited Spectacle Island for the day, Boston Harbor Cruises reached out and offered the opportunity to take part in their Boston Harbor Cruises Blogger Day Out. Given my great first experience, and desire to be on the water as much as possible, I eagerly agreed.
I had my pick of cruise options for my day out, and considered first a brunch cruise, then potentially visiting more of the harbor islands, but ultimately I picked a whale watch. In the small town where I grew up, there is a 6th grade trip out to Cape Cod right before you graduate, and get sent off to the bigger town next door for middle school. It was on that trip that I took my first and only whale watch, and since 6th grade was quite a few years ago now, it seemed like an experience I wanted to have again.
I had to reschedule my initial cruise, but that ended up being fortuitous, because my friend Lucy and I were blessed with the most gorgeous day to watch some whales. Clear skies, dry air, calm water, and abundant sunshine — the main reason why we are all crazy enough to endure New England winters! We arrived at Long Wharf with mere minutes before the whale watch was set to depart (city traffic is just crazy), and miraculously made it onto the boat with only a couple minutes to spare.
The cruise is slated for 3 hours, but before you even leave the dock, they let you know there’s a chance it will take longer, which we learned is because you never know if you’ll get to see the whales. Our trip ended up taking more than 3.5 hours, and while we did get to see a few whales and the most adorable seal, we had to do a lot of searching to find them. Fortunately, the weather was such a treat that even just being out on the boat was a great experience.
There was a girl narrating the whale watch, and whenever we slowed down enough to hear her over the sound system, she was sharing lots of interesting whale and sea life facts. She did a great job of filling the moments when we were trolling and looking for whales, but coming up short. We ended up seeing two different types of whales — finbacks and minke — and a harbor seal. The seal was honestly a highlight for me — I just love animals in general, but especially animals with personality, and this seal definitely had plenty of that. We first spotted him pretty far away, but he came closer and closer, and as soon as he was right next to the boat, he started swimming around us, stopping every few feet to stare at the boat. It was really adorable. He was hard to catch on camera, but you can sort of see him in the photo below. He was grey with lots of darker grey and black spots. Too cute!
We must’ve spent 1.5 hours actively hunting for whales to admire — we made it almost all the way down to Provincetown! — and probably saw 5 or 6 of them. My first whale watching experience involved a lot of up-close and personal views of humpbacks, so this experience was much different and more subdued, but all around quite pleasant. I think, too, that that’s the nature of a whale watch — you never really know what you’ve going to get. The weather definitely contributed to a really nice, relaxing afternoon, and we were both happy with the experience. A big thanks to Boston Harbor Cruises for sponsoring the day!
In addition to my fun day out on the water, there was another fun tidbit to this whole Blogger Day Out thing. A giveaway! For you! I’m giving away two tickets to any Boston Harbor Cruise of your choice. There are tons of options, whether you want something really laid back or more adventurous, something shorter or an entire day away. If you haven’t been to the Harbor Islands, I would recommend taking the BHC Harbor Islands Ferry out to one of the islands — the closest are just about 20 minutes away, and such a fun and refreshing break from the city.
To enter, check out the BHC website, and leave a comment letting me know which cruise you would choose! Below are additional ways to enter — please come back and leave a separate comment for each.
I will pick a winner on Friday, August 22. Please be sure to leave your email so I know how to get in touch with you!
In case you’re curious, some additional information and background info on Boston Harbor Cruises…
Boston Harbor Cruises (BHC) is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Boston, for New Englanders and visitors alike, carrying over 2 million passengers each year. Founded in 1926, BHC has built a legacy of fun and dependable travel on the water and is committed to providing each guest with an unforgettable experience. Centrally located at Long Wharf on Boston Harbor, BHC owns and operates 43 vessels with offerings including Boston Harbor Sightseeing cruises, the New England Aquarium Whale Watch, state-of-the-art Fast Ferry to Provincetown, the Salem Ferry, Codzilla – a high speed thrill ride, weekend brunch cruises, special events, private charters, year round daily MBTA commuter services, commercial vessels (offshore support services for underwater survey, research, LNG work and more) and this year, the addition of the Boston Harbor Islands Ferries.
BHC was recognized by The Family Business Association (FBA), the leading independent non- profit organization serving family business enterprises, with the 2013 Massachusetts Family Business of the Year Award. The FBA awards recognize the importance of family businesses in MA and the critical role they play in providing significant employment opportunities, revenue generation, economic development and growth in their communities, the state, and the region. For more information, daily cruise schedules and rates, please visit bostonharborcruises.com.