After a long night of partying with some new friends in the famous Halifax Nightlife, waking up before Noon was the last thing I wanted to do. As the haze in my brain slowly turned into semi-normal thought patterns, I remembered. “Crap! I’m going whale watching today!” I Hauled what was left of me into the shower and found enough strength to get dressed. My roommate was mocking me. He had made the “wise” decision not to get belligerent the night before we hit the seas. His Dad was in town for the week, so this gave him a good excuse not to make bad decisions with me. However, somewhere earlier in the week we had all agreed that we’d do some Whale Watching in Halifax before his Dad flew back to Saskatchewan.
We made it down to Murphys Wharft, where our whale watching tour was to begin. My hangover was consuming me. I told Justin, my roommate, that chances were good that I was going to upchuck on a whale, or possibly a small child. He gave me one last way out, “You don’t have to do this man”. I lifted my face out of my hands, “Yes Justin, I must!”
We all boarded Murphys Tour boat, a collosal looking thing with chairs lining the outer-upper deck and theatre-esque seating in the main cabin. I found a sweet looking seat right beside the edge of the starboard side of our tour boat. If I was going to be sick, I didn’t want to be running for a garbage or bathroom. Plus the fresh air distracted me from how many shots of whiskey I shouldn’t have partook in.
The tour boat set off toward the sea while the tour guides gave us an in-depth history lesson on Point Pleasant Park, Pier 21, and the Halifax Harbour. I took in as much as I could under the circumstances. That is, until one of the Murphys Tour Guides mentioned on the P.A system that there was a bar in the cabin. My guts said no, but my logic said yes. The only way to cure (or at least delay) this hangover was to drink through it. Hair of the dog. Thankfully, Justin and his old man were happy to join me for beers.
My thoughts were finally tuning into the beauty of Halifax’s harbor. The second largest in North American, next to New Yorks. As of yet, we hadn’t seen much in terms of wildlife, aside from some seabirds. The history lessons continued, when finally some harbor seals swam by far enough away to look indistinguishable from some of the waves. The Murphys tour guides informed everyone on boat that they were going to pull a lobster trap out to let us touch (and annoy) some crustaceans.
As they hauled up the heavy looking wooden box, I had to laugh a bit. It was almost empty. There were a few little guys in there, along with some stone crabs and a very pissed off fish. This was by all means nothing like “The Deadliest Catch”. Thankfully, Murphys Gang had a backup plan, they ran to their tank in the cabin and pulled out their domesticated lobster and crab to let the kids (and me) hold. We grabbed a second round of beers and took our seats to enjoy the sun as it faught its way through the clouds. My hangover would come back every so often, or maybe it was seasickeness. Regardless, I held strong.
We’d been on the boat almost an hour with still no sight of whales. I was beginning to think we might be the unlucky group of the day when suddenly crowds of children and a few eager photographers ran to the port side of the ship to see something. The Murphys Whale Watching crew announced that they’d found a Minke Whale, but warned we might not see it for a bit as it looked like it was diving. I figured I should get up to see if I could see anything. Then on the starboard side two more whales surfaced, where they proceeded to show off a bit. One minke whale waved its tail as it dove deeper, while the other was just surfacing.
After watching for 15 to 20 minutes, one last whale, or possibly the first one, surfaced again on the port side. Unfortunately, unless you have a telescopic lens with a trigger finger and some serious high shutter speed, you may have a heckuva time catching any pictures of whales. As you can see, I didn’t. But I think that’s what a lot of people seem to forget. Its a Whale Watching Tour, not a Whale Photo Shoot. After realizing I wasn’t going to be able to get much of a shot, I put the camera away for a while, and just watched the whales. Its incredible how much faster the human eye is than the camera.
The Whale watching tour finished with some bird feeding and a few more historical stories, including the famous Halifax Explosion. As I snapped a few last photos of the Halifas Skyline, I realized my hangover was gone. Then I got off the boat and realized I was perhaps a bit dunk. “Hair of the dog, you’ve done it again!” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you go whale watching hungover!