Sunday, September 04, 2016

Whale Watching Off Bar Harbor, Maine

We started bright and early to head over to Bar Harbor, Maine for a whale watching tour with the imaginatively named Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.

We grabbed our ticket and then killed some time at the few shops that were open this early.

What "Bar Harbor" sounds like in New English.

I kept seeing whoopie pies for sale everywhere so we finally had one. It's pretty much how it looks, like two cake buns with icing in the middle. It is the official state treat of Maine, not to be confused with the official state dessert of Maine, the blueberry pie.

With time officially killed and our stomachs full of icing, we boarded the Atlanticat.

A dutch cruise liner was nearby and there wasn't a dock to accommodate the massive ship so they were ferrying people in on these cool little boats.

Then we headed out into the Gulf of Maine.

There were tons of Sic-Sacs, the trademarked original motion sickness bag, on every table in the ships cabin. I made a game of seeing how many I could stuff into Zoe's purse while she wasn't looking. While this was a whale watching tour, as one of the top Google reviews warns, "The only thing you are guaranteed to see is people throwing up." 

Once the ship was out in whale territory we were on high alert. A few times we saw the whales' blowhole breath shooting high into the air but by the time the boat reached it the whale was gone. I saw a big shimmering fin one time but that was about it. On the way back the captain officially designated the trip a bust which meant we could return for free on another trip. My cousin Brendan is getting married in Maine so I'm hoping we can give it another try then.

The tour company had warned us to bring a hat and gloves. I thought it was funny, it being summer and all, so I brought a giant hat and the thick gloves I bought in Iceland. I was glad I did. Once that boat got going it was crazy cold out there.

One of the ship's marine biologists was walking around with a piece of baleen from a whale's mouth. The whales playing the krill game have these instead of teeth. They get a mouth full of water and then push it out through this hairy structures to strain out the deliciousness. How the largest animal on earth (the blue whale) ended up eating these barely visible shrimp things is pretty hard to understand. Fun krill fact: Wikipedia says in "the Southern Ocean, one species, the Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, makes up an estimated biomass of around 379,000,000 tonnes, making it among the species with the largest total biomass."

We passed the Dutch mothership on the way back.

Atlanticat exterior.

On the way back to Portland we stopped at little shack restaurant called Fish Net in a town called Blue Hill for one last lobster roll.

We returned to L. L. Bean to pick up Lydia's newly monogrammed backpack.

We spent the night in Portland and that was the end of the game. Our flight the next morning was crazy early.

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