The coast of Cape Cod and the Islands is one of the best places in the world to view whales. Humpback, Finback, Minke and Pilot whales are among those seen on whale watching excursions in our waters. The Humpback is by far the most prominent and Throughout the spring and summer, whales migrate to our area to feed on cod, herring and other fish as our waters are rich in these species. Some whales can consume up to five thousand pounds of food in a day!
Whales have been frequent visitors to our waters for hundreds of years. In the 19th century the Cape was known for its whaling ports. It was not just whale bone with was popular, whale blubber was extremely profitable as it was made into oil for lamps, soaps and paint. Whale hunting was an incredibly precarious job as men could be gone anywhere from weeks to years in search of their prey.
The whaling industry waned in the late 19th century as petroleum became more popular and the declining number of whales made hunting them more and more inefficient. Today, commercial whaling is illegal and national and international organizations are working toward replenishing depleted whale stocks throughout the world.
Local whale watching companies such as the Dolphin Fleet in Provincetown work with scientists to better understand the patterns habits of whales and inform visitors to the region of the importance of their presence and protection. Many tours include a naturalist to explain behaviors and habitats that they witness during their tours.
We on the Cape are truly stewards of this amazing natural habitat from the sand dunes to Stellwagon Bay. By creating experiences that are fun and educational for our visitors we can be sure they leave with a piece of Cape Cod in their heart.