In the mid-18th century, Cape Codders resolved that whaling from small boats near shore wasn’t the most efficient way to catch the mighty mammals—and they began to outfit larger ships for much longer hunting trips. No long-distance whaling voyages are undertaken from the dock at Chatham Bars Inn. But chances are good that the resort’s affable Captain Jack Sheeran can summon some whales for your viewing pleasure during an excursion on the 34’ StarStruck or the 38’ Shooting Star (a Shelter Island runabout designed replica by musician Billy Joel). After passing Chatham Lighthouse and beaches and buoys and the flag markers above lobster pots, the boat finally enters the vast blue Atlantic. The captain never takes his eyes off the horizon, scanning for the telltale blasts of white water.
Charging across the open sea is fun enough, but when a whale is spotted, the thrill escalates exponentially. The boat bobs beside these giants as they force small fish up with a column of bubbles before rising, jaws open, to swallow the lot. The whales skim the water’s surface and then dive back down, their distinctive tails rising above the waves before slipping under. You forget yourself, watching them feed—their monumental size, their primal grunting and whooshing and, yes, singing—these are the creatures of mythology and legend, and you are there in their midst.
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