Who We Are

In the early 70’s, Captain Al Avellar offered daily fishing trips to the public on the waters surrounding Cape Cod on the Dolphin I, built on the Pamet by Truro Boatbuilders.  During these popular fishing adventures, he noticed his passengers would stop fishing, and instead be mesmerized by gigantic, graceful, and playful whales.  In the ’70s, whale watching had never been offered to the public on the East Coast. Captain Avellar took a chance, gave up fishing, and started a new venture–the Dolphin Fleet was born.  Almost overnight, whale watching became one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cape Cod and all of New England.

On one of the first trips, Captain Aaron Avellar, son of Al, noticed a Humpback Whale with an unordinary amount of white on its dorsal fin. This particular whale was very obvious in the field, as the white on its fin stood out from typically black-finned Humpback Whales.  Capt. Avellar jokingly remarked how it looked as if someone had sprinkled Salt on its back.  Again and again this whale would be sighted during whale watch trips.  Eventually, his nickname for this whale became her given name – Salt.

Although it did not seem significant at the time, individual markings were observed in all the Humpbacks. Whale watch Captains and marine bioligists began to realize that they could identify and keep track of Humpbacks through photographic records. Today, there are over two thousand identified Humpback Whales, spanning at least four generations.  Salt, along with her offspring, remains the most famous of all. Whale identification has taken on a whole new significance today and whale watching has gone on to become one of Cape Cod’s most successful industries. Each season, thousands of people come to Provincetown to see Salt and the other great whales as they feed and nurse their calves in the nutrient-rich waters of Stellwagen Bank.

Captain Chad Avellar is carrying on the legacy of his late father and grandfather.  SeaSalt Charters, though a completely separate entity, is essentially an offspring of the Dolphin Fleet. SeaSalt‘s captains have earned their reputations as expert seamen with years of experience working on the Dolphin Fleet. Operating from the same dock, and with equal pride in giving our passengers the most memorable experience, we are a special alternative to the wonderful tour that the Dolphin Fleet offers.  SeaSalt Charters offers private, intimate trips for you, your family and friends, or business associates, guided by captains who are committed to providing a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime whale watching or fishing experience.

Soon to be released is a children’s book called A Whale Named Salt, by accomplished author Richard Sobol.  It will tell the story of Salt and how she has played such a romantic role in the story of whale watching out of Cape Cod.

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