Monday, August 16, 2010

This dolphin's splashing, getting everybody all wet. But this ain't Seaworld, this is real as it gets!

Ahhhh, I don't think I am capable of thinking of a boat ride without thinking of that song. So what were we actually doing on a boat this past weekend? Whale watching! I can not even tell you how much fun it was. I bought the passes through one of those discount coupon sites (Groupon, Buywithme, etc.) back in the spring and, of course, waiting until right before it expired to use it. So off we went bright and shiny Sunday morning up to Gloucester, MA to hop on a boat. I was sort of nervous, because I wasn't sure what the ride would be like...ok, I was scared I was going to get seasick. The waves really were pretty big, but I was a long as I was sitting down. :) I got even more nervous because the onboard Biologist (how cool is that?) said that they had recently been having to travel extra far to find the whales, anywhere up to two hours out! Ummmmmm, ok. So, guess how far we went? That's right, a two hour boat ride all the way down to Provincetown! Ok, so I am going to tell myself that I did the North Shore and the Cape all in one day...hardcore. So anyway, we got there among all of the other whale watching tours and immediately latched onto following around one group. It was a group of Humpback whales with two calves and their moms and then a few others, as many as eight at some points! They were feeding the whole time and would come up and float/swim around and then go into a deep dive for a couple of minutes. It really was amazing. We were out there for so long and saw so many things. Some of my favorite things were:
1. Learning about how the areas of intense teal green around the whales was actually the plankton in the water...maybe phytoplankton...something like that. (see pics below)
2. At one point when our group of whales was on a deep dive we spotted what looked like a huge whale in the distance "being surface active" (that's what the Biologist said it was doing). Surface active translates to awesome. It was breaching (like you see on shark week) completely coming out of the water and slapping it's fins on the water. The best was when it turned upside down and slapped both fins on the water at the same time, it looked like a giant white bird sitting on the water flapping its wings. A-mazing.

Here is a video of the action...hope it works!

After the super long boat rides I was DYING to get some food. During my mom's last visit she was on the hunt for some good fried clams and sadly never found any. :( So when I saw a piece on the local news on where to get the best fried clams I quickly informed her that the next visit would not be a disappointment. Since we were in the (general) area I thought it would be a good idea to test the place out, you know, to make sure it tasted ok. :) We drove on up to Ipswich and finally made it to the Clam Box (after passing ALL of the other famous clam places, but I wanted THE BEST). Through my research I knew the line would be long...but we really wanted those clams. Now, to be perfectly clear, I have never actually had fried clams. P used to eat them at "Ryan's". This may seem like the bar was set really low, but I generally am pretty picky about seafood...and after all the hype these clams had a lot to live up to. So, we waited, and waited, and got sunburned standing in the line, and waited, and after an hour we reached the building! I hopped off to snag us a picnic table while P completed the ordering process. They were worth it. So so yummy, enough said. We split a plate and couldn't even finish it, and we were famished by that point in the day (4:00!).

While researching clams I also learned about an antique shop in the area called "The White Elephant" and it's nearby "outlet" shop. Well, of course, I had to go to the outlet promised to be full of "junk at low prices", my favorite! The icing on top of the junky cake were the beautiful white horses across the street. I scampered across the highway through a break in speeding cars squealing something about petting them, only to find a double electric fence. Maybe next time? I am telling you, these New Englanders are very exclusive with their animals of the barnyard variety, but I do think I finally found the equestrian holy grail of these parts. Essex, MA seemed to have another barn around every corner, complete with fancy horses grazing out front. My heaven. I of course then went rooting through piles of junk at the White Elephant and found, a really cool old card table, a really cool old wooden spice cabinet, wooden apple baskets and a great old wooden for sale sign. It is all still at the White Elephant if anyone is to P about why it didn't get in the car with me. So what if I want to be a hoarder? Seriously considering going back for the spice cabinet...if that's even what it was...picture a really tall card catalog like in a library...but used for spices and such? Anyway, it was outside just rotting away, but the perfect little drawers with their little labels were doing just fine...maybe they could just allow me to remove it from the property as a favor to them? For free? No?

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