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Provincetown :: Sunday, April 20th 2014

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Spring on Stellwagen Bank

Notes from Land's End: Mar. 13


March 13th, 2012

“I must go down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife.”

If you’ve never seen a Northern Right or a Humpback up close, lads and lasses, come to the tip of Cape Cod this spring for the whaling trip of your life.

John Masefield, British Poet 1878-1967

At Land's End, the great changes in the ocean surrounding us signal the warmer days to come. The nearby Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary welcomes back a vast array of marine life from their winter grounds. Established in 1992, these 638 square miles of protected feeding grounds (measured in nautical miles) is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its inception.

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A rich bath of phytoplankton and zooplankton draws the endangered Northern Right Whale to this aquatic preserve. Every spring, mothers with their calves arrive from the warmer climes of Georgia and Florida, while the rest of the pod most likely returns from offshore. The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, created in 1987, is a leader in tracking this species’ migratory patterns and social habits, making it a world renowned resource for marine biologists.

Stellwagen Bank also provides a habitat for the humpback whale, finback whale and Atlantic white-sided dolphin. It is a thoroughfare for fin fish like Atlantic bluefin tuna, Atlantic cod and winter flounder. Sea scallops and northern lobsters also travel through the sanctioned area on their way to warming waters, along with forty species of sea birds, including Wilson's storm petrel, shearwaters, northern gannet, terns and gulls.

Provincetown, based six miles from this ecological wonder, is rated one of the top ten places in the world to view whales in their natural habitat. A visit to Land's End would be incomplete without an excursion on the Dolphin Fleet. Their season begins April 11th. Tickets are $42.00 for adults, $29.00 for children, aged 5 to 12, and kids 4 and under ride for free. Parking is also free at Duarte’s car lot on Bradford Street.

Grab their online coupon for a small discount. Please call them at 1-800-826-9300 to book your trip. If you’ve never seen a Northern Right or a Humpback up close, lads and lasses, come to the tip of Cape Cod this spring for the whaling trip of your life.

“Notes from Lands End”, by artistic bon vivant Laura Shabott, is a weekly account of the people, places and events that make our town so special.

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