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Crucial Differences: Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises | Captain John Whale Watching & Fishing Tours - Whale Watching In Plymouth

Many individuals who are fascinated with marine life have difficulty distinguishing between whales, dolphins, and porpoises. All are members of the taxonomic order Cetacea. The terms are inconsistently applied, but generally “dolphin” refers to cetaceans of the familes Delphinidae (ocean dolphins) and Platanistoidea (river dolphins), and “porpoise” refers to members of the family Phocoenidae. “Whale” is a catch-all term for all other cetaceans, including remaining members of the order Odontoceti (toothed whales), of which the dolphin and porpoise families are a part, and all Mysticeti, or baleen whales.

dolphin

There are a number of significant differences between these three species that can help whale watchers distinguish between them.

Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises

  • Size

The most noticeable difference between these three classifications is their size. If you see a cetacean that is greater than a dozen feet long, it is most likely a whale. Porpoises are smaller than most dolphin species.

  • Teeth

This may be more difficult for people on whale-watching or fishing excursions to notice from a distance, but the presence of teeth or baleen is the major taxonomical difference between cetaceans. Larger whales typically do not have teeth, but instead use fringed plates made of baleen that extend from their upper jaws to filter their food from the water they take in when their mouths are open. Smaller whales and dolphins have cone-shaped teeth, whereas porpoises feed using spade-shaped teeth that are designed to catch smaller fish.

Dolphins and Porpoises

  • Dorsal Fins

Dolphins have larger dorsal fins than porpoises do, and porpoises’ dorsal fins tend to be triangular, while dolphins’ dorsal fins are curved.

  • Rostrum

The rostrum, or snout, is more beak-like in dolphins, while porpoises tend to have a more nose-like rostrum.

  • Social Movements

It is common for participants on a whale watching cruise to see porpoises swimming or feeding in solitude or in small groups. Dolphins, on the other hand, almost always move in large and complex pods.

Atlantic Spotted Dolphin (Stenella frontalis)

The next time you are in Plymouth, Boston, or Cape Cod, explore the great Atlantic on one of Captain John’s whale watching tours or deep sea fishing excursions. We guarantee sightings on every whale watching tour! Call (508) 746-2646 to find out more!



Love Fishing? Check Out These Resources! | Capt. John Whale Watching & Fishing Tours - Fishing Charters Plymouth

No matter where you’re going, setting out on the open ocean always feels like an adventure. Whether you’re looking for breaching whales or elusive fish, the ocean is full of exciting experiences. Follow these links for more information:

fishing reel ocean sports

If you’d like to take part in the excitement of deep sea fishing, come by Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours. Based out of Plymouth, Massachusetts, we operate in the heart of America’s traditional fishing waters, as well as some of the nation’s best whale watching spots. On our fishing tours, there’s a great chance you’ll catch haddock, cod, and other amazing fish. Contact us today at (508) 746-2646 and behold the treasures of the ocean!



Capt. John's 4th Of July Celebration! | Captain John Whale Watching & Fishing Tours

Don't forget to come kick off your 4th of July Celebration early this year with Captain John Whale Watching & Fishing Tours!

 

Captain John's 4th of July Celebration

The boats will leave the dock at 7:30 pm and have a harbor cruise around Plymouth harbor and then they will have a spectacular view to watch the fireworks from the harbor!

A cash bar will be available as well! For more information about tickets visit the Capt. John Website, or call the office directly at (508) 746-2646!



What To Bring On Your Whale Watching Trip | Captain John Whale Watching & Fishing Tours - Whale Watch Plymouth

In addition to seeing some of the largest animals on the planet, whale watching excursions are a great opportunity to enjoy the cool sea breeze.

Humpback Whale Sighting

However, the sea can be a fickle mistress, and it pays to be prepared. Here is a brief list of things you should bring with you on your next whale watching excursion:

  • Weather protection:

Rain or shine, you should always be prepared. In the case of sun, it’s important that you bring a hat, sunblock, and sunglasses to shield you from sunlight reflected from the ocean. In case the weather turns, you should have a rain jacket handy. Dress in layers and wear a pair of rubber-soled shoes for better traction on the wet deck.

  • A camera or binoculars:

To maximize your whale watching enjoyment, it’s a good idea to bring a pair of binoculars. That way, you’ll be able to behold the majestic creatures up close. Also, a camera will help you record the excitement for years to come.

  • Motion sickness pills:

A lot of people have trouble with the rocking motion of the boat—if you’re one of them, take motion sickness pills an hour before you set out for sea. Nausea can take the fun out of whale watching in a hurry.

  • Questions:

When do humpback whales migrate? How big do they get? These are just a few of the questions you might ask on your whale watching excursion. In addition to seeing these amazing creatures in action, you’ll find that whale watching can be a great learning opportunity.

For an amazing whale watching experience, come to Plymouth, Massachusetts, where you’ll find Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours. On one of our vessels, you’re guaranteed to catch a glimpse of a majestic whale while an expert naturalist tells you all about it. If a fishing tour is more your speed, hop on board and we’ll take you out to sea where you’ll likely find cod, flounder, and other wonderful fish. Check out our website to learn more about us or call (508) 746-2646. We hope to see you at the dock!



The Thrill of Deep Sea Fishing | Captain John Whale Watching & Fishing Tours - Fishing Charters Plymouth

The sea air on your face, the mighty struggle with noble creatures, the thrill of the catch—if you’ve ever been deep sea fishing for flounder or cod, you know what an amazing experience it can be. If you haven’t been, you’re truly missing out. This article will help you to better understand the pure thrill of deep sea fishing.

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The Open Ocean:

When you’re on the open ocean with no land in sight, your imagination goes wild. You begin to imagine yourself as a sea captain beckoning for land, or a fishing veteran trying to meet his quota. The sun, the breeze, the smell of sea water—you’ll find that the sheer vastness of the ocean invites you to relax and reflect about life’s big questions.

The Struggle:

As you enjoy the splendors of the ocean with your fishing line in the water, you may feel an unexpected tug. Suddenly you’re locked in an ancient struggle between human and fish, and you can feel the adrenaline pumping through you. Sometimes the fish wins, sometimes you do, but it’s always a rush. If you’re skilled enough, you could reel in a mighty creature that’s as big as you are!

The Reward:

As you feel the thrill of successfully catching a fish, you understand what thousands of generations of humans must have felt. Like them, you can take your fish home and prepare a feast for your loved ones in celebration of your catch!

If you’d like to take part in the excitement of deep sea fishing, come by Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours. Based out of Plymouth, Massachusetts, we operate in the heart of America’s traditional fishing waters, as well as some of the nation’s best whale watching spots. On our fishing tours, there’s a great chance you’ll catch haddock, cod, and other amazing fish. Contact us today at (508) 746-2646 and behold the treasures of the ocean!


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