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Anyone Ever Go Whale Watching (or just a boat trip) with a 2 Year Old?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
We're heading up to Maine next month and are wondering if doing a whale watching boat ride would be fun with our 2yr old DS or just a terrible idea - e.g. if it doesn't go well, for whatever reason, we're stuck on the boat till the tour is over. Looks like it would be a nice size boat (holds about 40 people maybe) with indoor and outdoor places to be. Not sure of total length of tour...probably 2-3 hours...? And there's always the chance we won't see whales at all...but DS has never been on a boat, nor seen huge expanses of water before...so I'd think that would be engaging for at least a little while.
post #2 of 16
We took DS, 34 mos, on a whale watch a few weeks ago. About 2 weeks ahead of time, I took a whale book out of the library, and we read it almost every night. We talked about how we might go on a boat and see some whales.

We went out of Gloucester, but I think it's a bit less expensive out of Rye, NH. Our boat was larger - at least 75, perhaps, on 2 decks. The trip was extra long that day because the whales were in a slightly different location. So, the morning boat got back late, and our tour left around 2:15, back at 7:30. DS did fine. He did nap in DH's arms on the ride out to the whales, as his usual nap time is 1-3ish, so by 2:30, then lunch on the boat, he was pretty tired. By the time he woke up, we were nearing whales. Because of the book, he knew what to look for . I was pretty jazzed that he recognized what we were looking at, but I did point a lot of it out to him. (He was so quiet for a time - unlike him - that I wasn't sure he was seeing them, or "getting it.) I finally got him to tell ME when he saw something - whale spout, tail, fin, whole body. We even saw some dolphins.

He rode pretty quietly on the way back. The worst part of the trip was the fact that we got to Gloucester too late to get lunch before the boat left and then it left LATE, so we had a very late lunch (of only hotdogs w/o buns) that was super-expensive ($3 a piece on board). I did have some snacks for DS, but we went through them, too, by the time we got back at 7:30. Luckily, DS is pretty well behaved, even when he is hungry/tired.

Bring lots to eat and drink, and a warm jacket.
post #3 of 16
We just took DS (15 months) on a 2.5 hours whale watching tour in AK. It went great actually!
BUT, i called ahead of time, made sure that there were places he could walk around, made sure i picked a day that the boat was not very crowded. (could hold up to 40, but only had 16 the day we went), and the company we took have 3 boats, so i scheduled for the day that the biggest was going out.
He did not care about the whales, but loved walking around the top observation deck, as well in the aisle. The other guests thought he was the cutest thing ever!
post #4 of 16
I have been on exactly one whale watch and it was dreadful. Truly one of the worst experiences of my life.

It was advertised as a 2.5-3 hour trip, but was closer to 5 hours. The water was EXTREMELY rough out there. DH and I both blew chunks even though we'd taken Dramamine before the trip. I saw an old man fall and hit his head because of the rough waters. It was warm on the coast but horrendously windy and FREEZING cold (early June) out in the water. Many people spent most of the time in the cabin because it was so cold; people with little kids were having trouble keeping them upright and warm. And yes, we were dressed for the possibility of cool weather.

We spent the entire evening sleeping in our hotel room after the trip and so missed out on a night of our vacation. Not to mention that they were charging more money than was advertised on their website, claiming it was because of increased fuel prices. That's fine, but update your website!

This was out of Hyannis on Cape Cod, MA. YMMV, but I'm wary of ever even getting on a boat again.
post #5 of 16
We took DS on a ferry (~1 hour each way) at 17 months. He LOVED it. He sat in my lap or DH held him the whole time. He loved watching the waves, the other boats, the seagulls, etc. and it was a great time. The only thing I didn't anticipate was, I was kind of nervous that he'd somehow fall off the boat. The sides were high but there was an ~8" gap at the bottom that he could have crawled or rolled through... I guess I was just worried he'd get restless or do something sudden & end up overboard. So he spent a lot of time in my wrap because I felt he was safer strapped to me. But I am a pretty anxious person so it's very possible I was being ridiculous.
post #6 of 16
No, nor could you pay me enough to attempt it!

My 8th grade class took a long field trip, which included a whale watch off the coast of Maine. It was apparently one of the more "successful" trips, as we saw a ton of whales. That said, every time they spot a whale, they stop the boat, which made every single kid throw up. An hour or so in, we'd gone through all of the Dramamine, and by the end of the day, we were literally laid out on the deck, staring at the horizon (they tell you to pick a fixed point to help alleviate the seasickness.) Overall it was torture for us all, and I will never, ever do it again.
post #7 of 16
We took our three on a 6 hour cruise last spring. The twins were 3 and Caitlyn was 2. They did really well and when we saw some Killer Whales and seals they were extremely excited. It was a lot of fun
post #8 of 16
does your son tend to get car sick or air sick? does he get dizzy on playground equipment? if so, there is a pretty good chance he will get sea sick. if that's the case, he will probably not enjoy the trip. otherwise, provided you have the right kind of warm clothing and plenty of snacks/drinks he will probably enjoy himself immensely.

i personally am the motion sickness type. i've gotten sick in cars/planes since i was tiny, but i never put two and two together, so getting massively sick on my first boat ride (other than short ferry rides) was a huge disappointment. that said, i still enjoyed myself enough that i would take my kids on a similar trip so they could enjoy it, even if i had to be doped to the gills to tolerate it.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
DS has never been carsick and was fine on an airplane when he was 1 yr. He's only been on one piece of spinning playground equipment, but wanted to get off pretty quickly. Maybe a shorter boat trip would be a better way to start...just in case. I've never really been seasick myself (my family had a sailboat when I was growing up). DH has less experience than me on boats, but has been fine with two exceptions...a catamaran ride in Hawaii and once when he had to spend a few days on a large navy vessel during some rough waves. Don't even know if motion sickness is in any way genetic...I'd hope DS would be ok. The company running the whale tours also does shorter scenic trips that stick closer to land...so presumably calmer seas.
post #10 of 16
The boys have never been out on a big boat on like the ocean, but both have been on pontoons/fishing boats since they were just a couple months old. They've always done fine - we just make sure they always wear their life jackets on the off chance they fell in somehow I'm jealous though... I'd *LOVE* to go whale watching some day! How freaking cool will that be?!!?
post #11 of 16
We took out DD on a motor boat with us (water skiing, she was just a passenger of course) last summer, she was about 15 months old. She loved it, it was funny actually because she would fall asleep despite the wind and noise, I guess the motion was similar enough to being in a car. We have these pictures of her in her life jacket, sitting on my lap totally zonked out. She's also been on ferry rides, about an hour and half. She loved it.
post #12 of 16
Ive taken both my girls on hour long ferry rides (so two hours round trip but with a break in between). My oldest went on one at around 26 months and 38 months, my youngest at around 5 months and 17 months. They both enjoyed the trips. My oldest loved to look at the ocean and point out things to her father, my youngest nursed.. both times.. both ways. She didn't like the crowds since it was rather crowded.
post #13 of 16
We've taken DS1 twice -- at 1 and 3. He did great both times on the boat, it was a 2 hour whale watchign trip up to an island where we went for a hike and then 1 hour back.

DS2 has gone once (at 6 months old).

On every trip, my boys just sleep on the boat. No matter how rough / calm the water is, there is something about the sound of the engines and the motion of the boat which puts them to sleep. I have asked DH to turn DS2's room into a boat... then maybe he would sleep better.
post #14 of 16
I love to go whale watching but I want to warn you, don't go if the weather is bad or the surf is choppy.

I have never been sea sick in my life but we went out of Boston a few years ago in iffy weather (they almost canceled the trip) and everyone was sick.

They were passing out barf bags. It was horrible. Really horrible.

So only go if the weather and water conditions are perfect.

V
post #15 of 16

Take The Shorter Trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by not_telling View Post
DS has never been carsick and was fine on an airplane when he was 1 yr. He's only been on one piece of spinning playground equipment, but wanted to get off pretty quickly. Maybe a shorter boat trip would be a better way to start...just in case. I've never really been seasick myself (my family had a sailboat when I was growing up). DH has less experience than me on boats, but has been fine with two exceptions...a catamaran ride in Hawaii and once when he had to spend a few days on a large navy vessel during some rough waves. Don't even know if motion sickness is in any way genetic...I'd hope DS would be ok. The company running the whale tours also does shorter scenic trips that stick closer to land...so presumably calmer seas.
We just finished living on our family's sailboat for the last 2+ years. My son, 19 months, has only ever known living on the boat, until recently (we just moved back ashore). The main issue is whether you are going to be on the ocean or whether you will be in some sort of more protected body of water, like a smaller bay. I am assuming, since it is whale watching, that you will be on the ocean.

My experience with sailing generally, and on going in larger vessels like those in whale watching trips, is that a very large percentage of people do get seasick after a few hours on the ocean. Unless you have been out on the ocean before, you really have no way to know if you are going to be one of those people. But, it can be really miserable for some people -- ranging from mild nausea to, as the pp mentioned, blowing chunks off the side of the boat and feeling like you want to die. You can't take anything for it once it starts. You have to take preemptive measures. So, I would definitely recommend a shorter trip or one in a protected body of water. My son loved being on the boat though, and never got sick. Mama was a different story.
post #16 of 16
I think it depends on the type of boat, the weather and the captain.

Is it open and roomy so you can walk around? 2 of my whale watching trips have been like this and it was very nice. One was on a ship that held maybe 40 people but in strict rows of seats - there was no place to walk so you just sat there. That would be very boring for a little one who probably couldn't see over all the adults. I also do better on sail boats than I do on power boats.

Calm seas, try it. Just a bit choppy? eh....it can go bad quickly and once it goes there it doesn't get better until you are back on land.

I was just out last weekend and a bad combo of weather and a really bad driver (our friend let his girlfriend drive the boat, really???) and I about lost it. If the captain is going to stop all the time (nothing worse than sitting there bobbing in a power boat which is what this chick was doing) and switch direction to chase whales it isn't going to be good.
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