Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

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norm
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Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby norm » Thu May 02, 2013 8:12 am

This year's Provincetown whale watch trip was delayed by poor weather on the first chosen date of April 13th. Who wants to spend 4 hours driving 200 miles just to get blown around. So, due to my work schedule, we ended up putting it off two weeks and went on April 27th. It was immediately obvious upon arrival that we made the right choice on the day as it was absolutely beautifull weather-wise. Just cool enough to keep it comfortable wearing the drysuits. Very little wind and almost no waves.

The sky was clear and Race Point Lighthouse was gleaming in the bright sunshine.

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The water was calm and you could just barely see a shadowy Plymouth 19 miles away across Cape Cod Bay. No whales in sight from shore like there were last year when we arrived.

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The surf was almost non-existent.

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There would be nine of us paddling. The walk to the water with the boats was shorter this year as it was just a couple hours till high tide.

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We loaded up the boats with our gear.

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An old friend had joined us - Lora was back paddling the sea kayak instead of whitewater. Lora was just returning from shoulder surgery, so Jordan and I gave her the royal treatment with help launching and landing.

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Milling around while everybody gets launched.

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The plan was to head to Race Point first, where the water depth drops off steaply.

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The group got a little stretched out with a group of 5 out front, Tracey and Jordan behind them and Lora and I bringing up the rear. A whale came up to Tracey's left and she SCREAMED loud and quick so everyone would have a chance to turn and spot it. I may have been the only one to catch it with the camera, but it was pretty far away. You'll have to take my word for it that it's a whale.

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So everyone got out the cameras and started looking around and waiting for another whale sighting.

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But all we got was fishing boat traffic for a little while. This one went by far offshore from us, headed back to the harbor.

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The next one was coming out and looked like it was coming right through us for a minute, then looked like it would head between us and the shore, so we got together and moved out a little.

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It did go between us and shore...

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We waited and waited, occasionally wandering apart into smaller groups or breaking off alone. We were directly offshore from the Race Point Lighthouse.

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The next sightings were much smaller, probably porpoises. They seemed to be in groups of 2 to 5.

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This put a smile on everyone's faces as it gave us something to look for again.

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The porpoises always seemed to come up behind us, but once in a while you could get a snapshot as they would surface 3 or 4 times in a row.

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On the lookout again...

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Hey Kris, there's one behind you!


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Once in a while, you think you've spotted a porpoise and it turns out to be a bird.

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Ken looks like he might have got a shot of this one.

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For a while, they seemed to be all around us in a couple groups.

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Steve looks like he's trying to spin around to see the one right behind him.

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Abby and Steve, Team Maelstrom.

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Ken's still shooting pictures, but looks like Joe is ready for lunch.

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It was about 12:45 and the general consensus was to head back around the point a little to where there were practically no waves at all, near the pathway to the lighthouse, so we all headed in that direction.

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There were a few 4 wheel drive vehicles out on the point. I don't recall there being any vehicles on the beach last year.

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The landing was very smooth and we all got out our lunches.

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Our landing spot turned out to be perfect as it was just beyond a sign banning the motorized vehicles on our section of beach.

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Some of us sat and ate while others stood and ate.

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While people were still finishing lunch and resting, Kris and I decided to take the short walk to the lighthouse for pictures.

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There was a path for the 4x4's that we followed past the dunes.

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We didn't want to keep everyone waiting, so we just took a quick walk around and snapped a bunch of pictures.

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The reason everything seemed to be gleaming from the beach 2 miles away was that they were putting a fresh coat of white paint on the lighthouse.

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The five bedroom keepers house can be rented for overnight stays.

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The former fog signal building named the "Whistle House" has two bedrooms and can also be rented.

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I'm not sure if this little building was an oil house or an outhouse.

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Heading back to the beach, the ever-present Pilgrim Monument off in the distance.

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A very big piece of driftwood.

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Looks like a pretty serious discussion, but Abby looks very relaxed, laying on the beach, doing her Bea impression.

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I noticed a piece of rope on the tree and wondered if somebody towed it ashore.

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A very customized Jeep leaving the beach.

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Our launch spot was visible from our lunch spot, in the distance, across Herring Cove.

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Between us and the Herring Cove beach there was plenty of empty, serene beach.

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Tracey is much happier as she got rid of her strangling drytop and borrowed a splash top from Lora.

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The only occupants of the beaches between Race Point and Herring Cove beach were flocks of birds.

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Lora and Tracey only wanted to do a short paddle, so we escorted them back to where the cars were parked and they took out and spent a couple hours on the beach with Alice while the rest of us continued on to Wood End Lighthouse to see if we could find more whales where there is another steep drop in water depth.

The water was even smoother now than when we launched in the morning. And it felt very warm in the cove to the point that we were actually hoping for a little more breeze to keep cool in all the heavy gear we were wearing.

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The facilities at Herring Cove are being rebuilt further back from the water, at the bigger parking lot.

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The Pilgrim Monument looks a lot closer now.

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We reached our destination for this leg of the trip, Wood End Lighthouse.

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No more whales to be sighted today. Not even any porpoises in this area. Just one big ship that seemed out of place to me in this part of the bay.

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It was starting to get late so we turned around and headed back to the take-out.

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The water was still super calm at the beach and landing was easy again.

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Here is a Google Earth view of the area we paddled with our planned track in yellow and our actual GPS track shown in blue.

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A few specs from the trip:

Launch time: 11:00am
Lunch at Race Point: 12:55pm Distance: 3.66 miles
Depart lunch stop: 1:46pm
Stop at Herring Cove: 2:22pm Distance: 5.17 miles
Reached Wood End: 3:28pm Distance: 7.65 miles
Take out: 4:06pm Distance: 10.32 miles

Lora and Alice carpooled with me and on the way home we stopped at Seafood Sam's in Sandwich to say hello to Briggsy and gloat a little about our day on the water. We arrived at the busiest time of the day for the restaurant but Briggsy and Deb were able to come out of the kitchen for a minute or two at a time and talk with us. Alice loved the fish on her seafood platter and will probably be making an occasional trip back across the canal for more visits this summer.

The list of paddlers for this year was myself, Lora, Jordan, Tracey, Steve, Abby, Joe, Kris and Ken W.

Thanks for a great day everyone and thanks for sharing your pictures already on the end of the trip posting at: http://wtpaddlers.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=3120&start=40

Norm
Last edited by norm on Thu May 02, 2013 8:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Dalerks
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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby Dalerks » Thu May 02, 2013 8:32 am

Norm as always great trip report Thank you
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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby Dalerks » Thu May 02, 2013 10:39 am

I believe the mystery building is the pump house for the air pumps for off road vehicles
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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby Azane » Thu May 02, 2013 10:54 am

Swell trip report & pics, Norm!

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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby pat » Thu May 02, 2013 11:51 am

Nice work, Norm. Lookit all them level horizons!
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norm
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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby norm » Thu May 02, 2013 12:17 pm

pat wrote:Nice work, Norm. Lookit all them level horizons!

Curse you Pat for pointing out how easy it is to fix them un-level pics in Photoshop! Now I end up editing every single picture I use in trip reports to make sure that the horizon is straight. So, after I've chosen 80 shots out of the 400 taken, I then edit all 80 just to make sure they are perfectly level for you! :D

As you may have noticed in other people's pictures, I tried to imitate Archie and also shoot video all day with a Helmet Hero camera strapped to my head. That failed miserably and only had a couple minutes of video on the beach while launching before it shut down. I think the memory card might have failed because it was formatted in an audio device last time it was used. At one point I was following the porpoises and not using the hand-held camera, hoping to get some good video. I need to figure that out...

I hope you are doing well Pat and can get out on the water soon!

Norm

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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby kayakerjnj » Thu May 02, 2013 12:28 pm

Great pictures and a great day with everyone!
Paddle with a big smile, its contagious :D


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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby lora925 » Thu May 02, 2013 3:08 pm

Great report Norm! and thanks again to you and Jordan for the assisted launches/landings and to the group for not complaining about my slow pace ;) Was a perfect first post surgery trip! I also can't thank you enough for meeting up with me after work earlier in the week to do a short test paddle before hand! It's going to be awhile before I'm up to 10+mile trips but it sure feels great to be back out on the water again.

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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby Kayak widow » Thu May 02, 2013 6:04 pm

Great report, Norm! I feel like I was there (...oh wait, I kinda was! Not a bad day for a walk at that gorgeous beach, where it was just a perfect day to enjoy the water & birds while waiting for you all to come back :-)

All of the seafood/food I had at Seafood Sam's was excellent, but I can't say that I've EVER had a piece of fried fish that good in my entire life (which Lora was quick to point out as no small accomplishment for Sam's, since I'm really old! :-) I will be back there, for sure!
Like a "football widow", I lose my spouse to kayaking for some part of pretty much every weekend :-)

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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby cgr » Thu May 02, 2013 11:22 pm

lora925 wrote:Great report Norm! and thanks again to you and Jordan for the assisted launches/landings and to the group for not complaining about my slow pace ;) Was a perfect first post surgery trip! I also can't thank you enough for meeting up with me after work earlier in the week to do a short test paddle before hand! It's going to be awhile before I'm up to 10+mile trips but it sure feels great to be back out on the water again.


Glad to see that you're back out on the water Lora!

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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby Kris C » Fri May 03, 2013 8:12 am

Nice photos, Norm! Thanks for posting. It was a good trip.
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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby Birdseye » Fri May 03, 2013 8:28 am

Nice report Norm. Too bad you didn't see more whales.
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pat
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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby pat » Fri May 03, 2013 9:06 am

norm wrote:I then edit all 80 just to make sure they are perfectly level for you! :D

Good thing! I was THIS close to tossing you out of the group!!!

I hope you are doing well Pat and can get out on the water soon!

Thanks. Things are progressing well. I'm hoping to finally get my boat in the water in Hanson on the 23rd, and I'm pretty much a definite for Washburn at this point.
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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby KenW » Fri May 03, 2013 9:32 am

Great photos and report as always. Thanks for organizing the trip.

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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby flabo » Sun May 05, 2013 1:10 am

Thanks for sharing your pictures, and the trip report, it always keeps my enthusiasm up between paddle days. Great job Norm.

Jim

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Re: Provincetown Whale Watch - April 27, 2013

Postby Gary » Sun May 05, 2013 10:25 am

Great report and pictures Norm-- Glad you and the crew had such nice weather
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