Whale watching has been on my bucket list for awhile now, so when we started our adventure in Maine I was hopeful we would get the chance to head out onto the water and spot some!
Newburyport Whale Watch
54 Merrimac St.
The Newburryport Whale Watch company is docked at the Newburyport Boardwalk, and offers whale cruises that are 4-4.5 hours long. Tickets are $50 for adults and anyone 14 and under is just $35. Whale watching season runs from May to October.
Humpback whales? Finback whales? Minke whales? There are many types of whales in the waters around Massachusetts, so you never know what you might find!
Well, who knew that going on a whale watch using a wheelchair would be such an issue. We can generally find a way to adapt to almost anything, but we could not find a single whaleboat in Maine that would allow a wheelchair user on board.
Fortunately, we don’t take no for an answer very easily. Newburyport is in Massachusetts, but not that far of a drive for the experience. This boat promotes that they are handicap-friendly and will assist wheelchair users. They did not let us down. As soon as we rolled up on the dock, the person checking reservations called for assistance from the crew. They helped me go down the steep ramp backward, and then even lifted my chair over a ridged ramp and onto the boat. They said they can even accommodate power chairs, whoa! When you book your tickets, just call to let them know you have a wheelchair.
They do have a bathroom on board and offered to help if I needed assistance getting there, but it does require a step up and over the doorway.
The Good Stuff:
This was such a wonderful experience and we all agreed it would be worth doing again. Our tour started with a ride out of the harbor and into open water, which was a little bumpy and rough but I loved it!
Reaching the open water, we encountered a number of fishing boats that often draw the attention of whales, so our guide was hopeful we would find what we were looking for. And they were right! We stumbled upon a cluster of three whales and then spent the next hour carefully maneuvering around them, and waiting patiently as they would descend underwater.
It’s hard to put this experience into words, so I’ll just share a bunch of the photos and the video we took. At the beginning of this clip, they’re talking about whale poop—which all the kids on the boat got a kick out of.
After we watched this trio of whales play, it was time to head back towards land. I was bummed when the tour was over, but I think it could have lasted all day and I still would have been sad to leave these incredible whales. Without hesitation, I would recommend this experience to everyone. It’s almost impossible to understand the scale of the whales without seeing them in person. I was surprised by how elegantly they moved through the water, and every time they would dive below the surface their tails would gracefully peak out of the water and then slowly disapear behind them.