I think everyday of living on a boat is wonderful but yesterday was hands-down the very best day! We went whale watching not far off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts for the second year in a row. I thought it was wonderful last year but this time is was truly unbelievable. Not only did we see lots of whales blowing, we saw 10, yes ten complete pairs of flukes as they deep dived (called fluking). To top it off we watched pairs of moms and calves playing and pec-slapping, I believe they were waving to us. Also we observed them “resting” which is how part of their brain sleeps while the other part voluntarily keeps them breathing and nursing. What a thrill and a privilege to be able to spend several hours observing these magnificent creatures. I could wax endlessly about our exciting day but I’ll let the videos speak for themselves. This was truly an unforgettable day aboard Unforgettable!
Prior to coming to Provincetown we stayed 3 nights in New Bedford, Mass. Here we visited the Whaling Museum where we learned about the biology of whales, the whaling industry and the role of the Portuguese in the whaling ships from New Bedford in the 1800’s. A typical whaling ship would be at sea for several years and would often go straight across the Atlantic to the Azores to pick up new crew. Many of the crew and eventually their families settled in New Bedford. Today more than 55% of the population has a Portuguese heritage. Currently New Bedford is America’s #1 most lucrative fishing port thanks to its scallop fishing which totals 84% of its seafood landings. We had to force ourselves to sample some of the Portuguese dishes and scallops which were delicious!
New Bedford is the home to the largest fleet of scallop boats on the Atlantic coast. When we drove through the longest hurricane wall on the east coast on Friday and entered the harbor it appeared that every single one ship was in port. That was strange since the waters in the Buzzards Bay were calm and I knew that fishermen often work 7 days a week in any weather. I was thoroughly perplexed. We soon learned from the locals that the commercial license for each boat costs over $1 million per year which entitles the boat to be fished for 30 days…per year. That gives an indication as to the quantity of scallops that can be harvested per day and the price at which they are sold.
The harbor’s newest scallop boat, “Viking Power”, is 30′ x 110′ and cruises at 11 knots due to the innovative bow shape. She holds 80,000 lbs. of scallops and cost around $5 million. We were fascinated by the boats and the history of New Bedford. The locals we spoke with seemed quite proud of the of their home and happy to share with us.
We had quite the nasty mooring experience with a pennant covered with shells, 4″ growth, tangled in fishing line and an atrocious smell. In the process of picking up the line our boat deck, rails and I had chunks of shells and slime necessitating an immediate shower for me and bath for the boat. Our mooring line was permanently stained. This mooring had not been used this season and the subsequent mooring they assigned us was not strong enough for our weight. After 2 hours we finally tied up to a fixed bulkhead that was so high we had to step across to the boat’s upper deck at low tide.