Labor Day Weekend, 2015
Summer is hurtling to an end and we are scrambling to make last minute plans for the Labor Day weekend. We throw caution to the winds and decide to drive down to Cape Cod. Post card beaches, glorious waters and the last weekend of summer – a four to five hour drive on a regular weekend can easily turn into a nightmare on the road. The prospect of driving through New York City to get across seems daunting but we set forth valiantly on Friday evening, only to turn tail and return before we even hit the city.
Wine turns into sweet dreams and sweet dreams turn into coffee; we hit the road at 5 a.m. on Saturday. We beat the crazy traffic, but by no means are the only souls on the roads. The first thing we do as we drive into Cape Cod is donate clothing. What a blessed start! Why we have donation clothes in the back of our car is a diversion we won’t make. As soon as we check into our hotel, we book a whale watching trip. This will be my third attempt and I am determined. I want to bike the Provincetown trail, but we are simply starving so we head straight to Commercial Street. What a gay place it is! (In both the traditional and modern sense of the word).
Post burgers, we walk around and down to the Pilgrim Monument. Rising like a stately chess piece, this granite tower stands atop a little hillock. The Pilgrim Monument was built to commemorate the Mayflower Pilgrims’ first landing in the New World in Provincetown. There was a time where people thought that Africa, Europe and Asia were the whole world, so when the Americas were discovered by these worldly people, they promptly termed them as the New World. Towards the end of 1620, a boat called Mayflower brought ashore a group of people who are now collectively known as the Pilgrims. These Pilgrims actually called themselves Saints, and were Separatists who did not want to pledge allegiance to the Church of England, which they believed was nearly as corrupt and idolatrous as the Catholic Church it had replaced. The Pilgrims are commonly accepted as the founding fathers of America, but the truth couldn’t be further. Apart from the Native Americans, several white colonies had sprouted across the continent before the Pilgrims arrived. After spending all of five weeks in Provincetown, the Pilgrims decided it was not suitable for settlement and sailed on to land at Plymouth Rock.
The Pilgrims certainly didn’t spend those five weeks in Cape Cod building this 252 foot monument; this was built much later (in 1892) by the Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association. A short climb took us to the foot of the tower, where we were informed that the only way to the top was to climb 116 steps and 60 ramps which would take only about ten minutes at a leisurely pace. Not wanting to risk our hearts, we pondered and concluded that we did not have the ten minutes. Turns out, we really did not have the ten minutes. We make it just about in time to our whale watching boat.
Your friend, the Whale
This time I am taking no chances. I chew on this little miracle called Dramamine and find us seats at the back of the lower deck. As the boat cuts through the ocean, water behind it furls out like the fluke of a whale. I have never enjoyed the sea so much – the rise and fall of her ample bosom; the gentle swaying from side to side. A huge fountain erupts in the middle of the ocean and has people excitedly pointing. Another fountain erupts alongside the first. Each whale is easily almost as long as the boat. Two of them can easily take our boat down.Thankfully, that was not what these gentle giants have in mind. The whales are playful and curious. There is one that keeps sneaking up close to the boat, sending a spray of water through its blow hole and hiding. Later,three of them swim straight at the side of the boat and under, sending everyone scrambling to the other side. They even give the boat an impish bump on its bottom. While I am fiddling around for the husband’s phone to take a selfie, I see something from the corner of my eye. I turn around just in time to see the most spectacular sight ever – a whale breaching.It doesn’t arch like Free Willy. It leaps straight up and for a second holds that pose, like Mount Meru emerging from the cosmic ocean, then it does a half flip and falls back.Our captain assures us, we saw three types of whales – humpbacks, finbacks and minkies, but all I can tell you is we saw around six to eight whales including a baby.
We are treated to a postcard sunset on the way back; complete with a little lighthouse glowing in the last rays of the sun. What a perfect way to end the day; yet not yet!
Bonus – whale watching video on our Instagram
More photos to follow on our FB page