Relax, view wildlife while whale watching

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Cruising through choppy water, our boat captain came over the loudspeaker to tell us to look out. A pod of porpoises were swimming near the boat. A crowd of people ran to the side of the ship.

Sam Howard, 6, was excited .  

“They were really cool,” he said.

Porpoises are just some of the animals you might see on a whale watching trip in Bar Harbor.  Surrounded by ocean, whale watching cruises are a popular activity for visitors in the small town just outside of Acadia National Park.

Whale watching tours are great for anyone looking to spend a leisurely afternoon. The boat heads out into the open ocean to search for whales, beginning in areas they have had success in the last few days. In Maine waters there are humpback, Finke and finback whales.

Whales are not the only wildlife on the trip. The captain, who narrates the entire tour, will also point out seals, birds and pods of porpoises.

The boat also passes Mount Desert Rock, a research site used to study marine mammals by the local College of the Atlantic, along with the Allied Whale association. The beautiful island features a research building and a small lighthouse, and has been in use since the 19th century. Part of the proceeds of all tours go to support Allied Whale, an organization committed to whale research and conservation.

The boat sets sail around noon, the tour takes around three and a half hours and the cost is $59 per person. There is no guarantee that you will see whales. If you do not see any, company will give you a voucher good for a tour on another day.

There is also a sunset whale watch, which follows the same routine. The company has other tours, including lobster fishing and seal watching, and a nature and sightseeing cruise.

Even without any whale sightings, the cruise can be a nice way to spend the afternoon. Betty and John Wilson, visiting Bar Harbor from Connecticut, were happy to have gone out on their early October cruise, despite not seeing any whales.

“It’s nice to get out on the water for the day,” Betty Wilson said.

It’s important to remember that open ocean can be very choppy and, as a result, many people experience seasickness while on board. The crew is helpful in such situations, walking around to check on people who are not feeling well. They also advise going outside because the fresh air helps alleviate nausea.

If You Go

  • What: Bar Harbor Whale Watching Tours.
  • Where: 1 West Street, Bar Harbor, Maine.
  • When: Tours run daily from May through October. Times vary depending on the month.
  • Cost: $59 per person, $33 per child 6-14, $9 for children 5 and under.
  • For more information visit or call 207-288-2386.

Comments are Closed