7 Things To Know About Whale Watching Trips

In order to get out to the deep water that whales love, expect to be out on the boat for three to five hours. It will take at least an hour or more to get out and back, which will leave you one to two hours of hunting and watching.

We recently went on a Whale Watch with a new-to-us charter called Captain John Boats out of Plymouth, MA. I hope you find these 7 things to know about whale watching helpful. If you are visiting Plymouth, find more things to do by visiting my review of Delightful Plymouth Massachusetts.

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Humpback Whales

1. What To Expect

In order to get out to the deep water that whales love, expect to be out on the boat for three to five hours. It will take at least an hour or more to get out and back, which will leave you one to two hours of hunting and watching.

If you are prone to motion sickness, be prepared. The ocean swells will have even a large boat rocking as you move over them. The rear of the boat will have a smoother ride than the front, so head there if you are a bit queasy.

2. What To Bring

Sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat


Camera or your charged phone

Your patience, and something to entertain the munchkins

Water and snacks, many boats will sell libations, water, and snacks on board.

An extra layer of clothing

3. What To Wear

Wear sturdy shoes – i.e. sneakers. You will see guests in flip flops and if the deck gets wet, you will also see them slipping around.

Wear weather appropriate clothing and then pack one more layer i.e. a jacket. It can be 10 to 15 degrees cooler out in the open water.

4. How To Take Great Photos With your phone

Use video instead of stills, with the free iMovie app, you can isolate a still photo from your video. This gives you a much better chance of capturing that Instagram perfect pic.

Make sure you have a wrist strap or shoulder strap on your phone, you don’t want it going in for a swim. This Joto Waterproof Pouch from Amazon is inexpensive and offers waterproof protection.

5. Sonar And Radar

If a whale watch says they use sonar and radar to track whales, be wary.

Sonar detects what is under the boat – hopefully you will have spotted the whales before they are under your boat!

Radar locates items on the surface and will detect large schools of fish, which can indicate a feeding place for the whales.

However, a good captain will have an idea where the whales are feeding, will be in contact with other captains out on the water, and have great vision for spotting whale splashes.

6. Arrive early

Arrive early, you don’t want to be running for the boat as they are pulling up the gang plank. Entertaining for the passengers on board, but not so much for you.

If you have your heart set on riding the front or the rear of the boat, and it’s a large touring boat, arrive very early, the best seats fill up quickly.

7. Bring cash

Cash (and usually cards) can be used to buy for snacks, drinks, and ship sponsored photos you may wish to purchase.

Cash tips for the crew are always appreciated.

I hope you get to enjoy a Whale Watching trip very soon. It is a wonder way to spend a sunny afternoon. If you use these 7 things to know about whale watching, they will help you have a whale of an adventure.

Happy Travels,


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Delightful Plymouth Massachusetts

Plimoth Plantation will keep you busy for an entire day.

Plymouth Massachusetts is a super friendly town that is great for a day trip or a weekend get-a-way. This year Plymouth is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing. You can check out all the festivities at Plymouth400.

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Everyone needs to see Plymouth Rock – it is great, albeit questionable historical accuracy, symbol of the Pilgrim’s landing on America soil. Don’t be too disappointed, since it is truly just a rock; but it is encased in a beautiful superstructure built in 1920. Anchoring a beautiful park along the Plymouth Harbor.

Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock

Where to Eat

Enjoy a lovely lunch at East Bay Grill. You can eat out on the patio overlooking the harbor. We had amazing lobster rolls, loaded with huge pieces of perfectly cooked lobster meat, served with coleslaw and a pile of French fries.

Treat yourselft to an after dinner, vacation-required ice creat at Ziggy’s on Water Street. All I can say is Yum!

Other Fun Things to do in Plymouth

Plimoth Plantation will keep you busy for an entire day, and they have great tours. My favorite viewing at Plimoth Plantation is the Rare Breeds in the Nye Barn, I am a farmer deep down in my soul. There is the Grist Mill, Craft Center, 17th Century English Village, and the Wampanoag Homesite. If you love American History or are looking for a pastoral place to spend some family friendly time – this is the place.

Long Beach in Plymouth and White Horse Beach are two beautiful public beaches if you want to get in some chilly Cape Cod Bay swimming. We were treated to a horseback riding group enjoying the Long Beach surf on a sunny September Sunday.

Plymouth Massachusetts Horseback riding

There are lots of great Airbnb’s in Plymouth.  We stayed in an old Fisherman’s cottage ½ block from the harbor between Water Street and Court Street. Court Street has a lively shopping and bar scene, with most places rocking until late in the evening.

I love Airbnb, it can give you a homey, neighborhood space, with perhaps a separate bedroom and living room, some kitchen space, and room for friends and family.

For something more upscale, there is the 1620 Hotel  it has well appointed rooms, great location and is adjacent to a quaint little shopping center offering small specialty shops.

Art is alive and well in Plymouth

Plymouth Lobster Crawl organized by the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce features 29 unique 5’ tall lobster structures through out the waterfront and downtown Plymouth. Make sure you tag your photos: #PlymouthLobsterCrawl

Plymouth Public Art Initiative
Public Art

You will see lots of Art in Plymouth Massachusetts.  The Plymouth Public Art Initiative brings hand-painted Adirondack chairs and picnic tables to the Waterfront for her visitors to enjoy.

Adirondack Chairs

Okay, I couldn’t resist photographing this huge fallen tree.  It’s been here quite a while and I’m guessing that it is part of the art scene on the waterfront.

I hope your enjoyed our weekend get-a-way in Plymouth Massachusetts, where the locals are super friendly, there is lots to do and see, and the restorative nature of the water will have you wanting to go back and visit again and again.

Delightful Plymouth Massachusetts

Get Lost in the Journey!