Bowhead Whale enjoying Cape Cod bay

Cape Cod Whales

Cape Cod Whales

by Donna Cain, Innkeeper and owner

We always love when guests return to our two inns on Cape Cod and how fun to read in the paper this week that a Bowhead Whale is also a return guest to Cape Cod Bay. Whalewatching has become a very popular experience for many of our guests staying at Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn. We love to recommend a full day in P’town which can include your whale watching boat ride, shopping in the unique shops along Commercial Street, biking along the great bike path at Racepoint Beach and lunch or dinner at the many great restaurants close by.

Interesting that the Arctic bowhead whale was recently sited in Cape Cod bay on April 9th and April 19th. Naturalists have identified this whale as the same one that was here in March 2012 and in the Bay of Fundy later last year. Researchers at the center have matched scars on the head of the whale seen earlier this month with scars on the bowhead in 2012 using photos from the center’s North Atlantic right whale aerial surveys. New England Aquarium records were used to match the Bay of Fundy in 2012.

This particular Bowhead whale was feeding along side Right whales which are prevalent in Cape Cod bay right now. Bowhead whales typically inhabit the Arctic Ocean and the far northern parts of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Food is the key reason whales come to Cape Cod bay where they feed on the abundance of plankton. This particular whale is confused and many naturalists have created different theories as to why the whale navigating to these warmer waters. Some theories include that the whale could be responding to changes occurring in their natural habitat, where predictable food sources have disappeared. The Bowhead could also be responding to changes in formations. The animal may belong to the Bowheads in the northern parts of the Atlantic Ocean or possibly the Northern Pacific area.


BowHead whales are considered endangered and there are an estimated 1,000 species in the North Atlantic. This particular whale seemed to be healthy and happy while it socialized and feeding activities with the Right whales but it certainly is a long way from where it should be. Bowheads are specifically adapted to life in the polar region. The whales have very thick blubber that is both insulation and a store of energy. The Bowheads can remain under water for up to 35 minutes, swimming under the Arctic ice and using their large heads to push up through sea ice to create breathing holes.

We have created a fun whale watching package for our guests that includes tickets for two for your whale watching adventure, a care package and a wonderful harbor view lunch to enjoy afterwards. Call for more information and room availability.

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