Whale of a Tale: The Experience of a Lifetime My Frugality Almost Missed

This is my favorite picture from all of last week’s vacation. Possibly my favorite picture from all of our vacations ever. It captures the raw power, the sheer amazement, and the utter joy we felt on our whale watching tour.

It was honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced. And, I almost missed it.

I’ve been on several beach vacations in my 35 years, but not once have I taken part in a whale watch. At $45 per person, it just seemed too high a price to maybe see a whale. Except, 7 Seas Whale Watch has a guarantee.

Basically, they give you free tickets for a return trip if you don’t see a whale. And, Captain Jay assures me that’s really only possible on a foggy day. With the beautiful, clear, blue skies we experienced, I was promised whales!

So, why is he so confident? Captain Jay grew up in Gloucester — he’s been whale watching these waters for as long as he can remember. Which means, he pretty much knows everyone. While we were visiting the wheel house, calls were coming in from other boats, giving him the location of the latest whale sighting.

And, we were off!

With Captain Jay’s determination, gorgeous skies, and 20mph speeds (I’m sure it’s knots or something, but whatever), it didn’t take long after that for us to near the whales.

Whoa. They are freaking huge. Yeah, you know that going in — it is a whale, after all — but being mere feet away from a humpback whale in the middle of the ocean is something else! And, we were seriously up close and personal. Captain Jay doesn’t mess around.

The whale dives — tail up — and you don’t really know where it will emerge next. A few minutes later, there’s a blow and the whale pops back up. Sometimes, much farther away — and off the boat goes. If the captain says, “There she is!” and there’s not a whale in sight, hold on!

He’s going to zoom closer, right along side the whale. We were so close once, I got sprayed by whale blow.

Whale blow! On. My. Body.

You just can’t put a price tag on something like that. Seriously. I’ll never let frugality get in the way of such an amazing experience again. I’m officially starting a list of cool things I’ve always wanted to do but ignored for cost, like swimming with dolphins or a hot air balloon ride.

I’m really glad I got to share this opportunity with my girls. As much as they loved the beach and so many other things we did in Cape Ann, this was a big hit with the whole family! We’ll always have the memory of being out on the ocean with the whales. Together.

We saw two amazing humpback whales take several beautiful dives — Stacia even got to see Freckles breaching, though the rest of us were scouting in the wrong direction. The Privateer IV also found many more whales and dolphins later during time in Gloucester. I was a little jealous looking at the captain’s blog from the week.

I guess that’s what makes it fun — you never know what you’ll find on the journey. Which means I’ll just have to go again as soon as possible. It’s quite possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever done!

We were hosted at Cape Ann by Gloucester Tourism and several area businesses. Our whale watching tickets were comped, but I would pay for it again in a heartbeat! Huge thanks to 7 Seas Whale Watch and Captain Jay. All opinions and photos are 100% our own!


  1. Denise Wilson says

    I agree that whale watches are one of the coolest things you could do!
    We’ve been on three whale watches, each with a completely different experience. The first one, we saw 3 or 4 whales from far away, but we saw a mom and baby whale up close… REALLY CLOSE! In fact, the baby whale was right next to the boat, then went under the boat and bumped it on its way to the other side. Fun! Really cool!
    The second trip the next year, we saw so many whales that we lost count!
    The third trip a couple years later, we saw a couple whales. But, we came upon a group of dolphins. Those dolphins were racing next to the boat and jumping around it. What fun!
    We hope to return to the east coast again soon and take our children on a whale watch.
    (We go up to Rockport, Massachusetts and take a little whale watch boat out of there. It is a small boat, so there is not a bad seat on it! And the crowds are much smaller.)


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