Bar Harbor Whale Watch and Puffin Hunt
Bar Harbor Travel Blog› entry 5 of 17 › view all entries
After breakfast we headed back into town, parked in the free lot, and walked through a park and down the hill to arrive at the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company. I had called to book our tickets over the phone, and we arrived in plenty of time for the 8:30am departure. We simply had to wait in a short line, show our ID's, and pick up the tickets I had purchased over the phone with a credit card. Then, down the stairs and out the back door, and we were right out on the dock, ready to board the boat! There was a crowd of people there that all had the same idea, but it was a large boat with room for all, and boarding was an orderly process.
Puffins are seabirds that look a little like penguins. There was a small island with a lighthouse on it that is also a puffin sanctuary. We got up pretty close to the island, before we suddenly saw this huge lighthouse, looming out of the fog! I was kind of surprised the light wasn't on, considering how hard it was to see the island under these conditions. One of the crewmembers was narrating the history of the area, the lighthouse, the sanctuary, and the puffins, over the loudspeakers of the boat.
The Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. advertises a 95% success rate in finding whales... this is because they know where the feeding grounds are! A certain part of the ocean where the krill they eat is more plentiful, and the depth is just right for feeding... so, they simply head for that spot and wait! They cut the engines, and everyone went outside on deck.... everyone scanning in every direction to see who could spot one first. It wasn't long before we saw a medium sized humpback break the surface. Immediately, everyone jumped up and headed to that side of the boat! I was on the bow and lined up for a shot, when suddenly I had a dozen heads in my way!! He stayed on the surface and dove down again.
After about an hour or so at the whale feeding grounds, we turned and headed back to shore, which was about another hour away. They had a concession stand on the lower deck, selling snacks, coffee, sandwiches, etc.
After we returned to Bar Harbor, we walked down the road a little along the waterfront.
After using up most of my cameras memory card taking numerous pictures of the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, we headed back to the hotel to take advantage of the free continental breakfast. An interesting thing was, the sun hadn't yet risin at sea level... so when we got to the bottom of the mountain, it was still in the pre-dawn hours! We got to see the sunrise again, over the horizon on the road in front of us, as we drove back into town. We stopped briefly in downtown Bar Harbor, I wanted to get somer pictures of the local streets with no people in them. It was still only around 6:30 am, and the town was pretty much deserted. An area that had been crowded with hundreds of people only 8 hours ago, was now almost completely devoid of activity! Well, I'm sure that will change, soon enough! I took a few shots, hopped back in the car, and in just a few minutes, we were back at the Days Inn.
It wasn't even 7 am yet, but they start putting the food out around 6. I've stayed at many hotels where the breakfast offered was nothing more than muffins and coffee, but this place had a decent selection. A large rack of cereal, oatmeal, breads, muffins, cinnamon rolls, as well as pre-packaged items like fruit cups, yogurt, etc. Individual servings of milk cartons, fresh fruit, and a juice dispenser that had orange juice, cranberry juice, and a machine for coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. They even brought out a container of hard boiled eggs, already shelled for you. Plenty of things for us to fill our bellies and get ready for the day ahead! We were planning to go on a whale watch soon, and maybe do some hiking after. After sating our appetites and getting some caffeine in us, we headed back to the room to shower and change and head back into town. I grabbed some apples and banannas to put in our packs for an afternoon snack later. There was no one else in the breakfast area when we were there... I guess it was still a bit too early for everyone else!! People tend to miss so much of the day, by sleeping! hehe