Boston Whale-Watching Cruise Goes Awry, Gets Stuck At Sea For 15 Hours

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Tourists who were looking to do a bit of sightseeing in the Boston harbor Monday were in for a surprise when their three-hour tour turned into an overnight stay (insert Gilligan's Island joke here). A Boston whale-watching boat was stranded off the Massachusetts coast with more than 160 passengers and crew onboard. Oops. The boat, which is part of the Boston Harbor Cruises company, became stuck when its propeller reportedly got caught in a lobster trap about 15 miles off the shore of Salem.

The Boston Harbor Cruises' three-hour tour is the only available whale-watching cruise in Boston. In a partnership with the popular New England Aquarium, the tour promises passengers that they'll "get to and from the whales in less time so you can spend more time actually watching them."

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case Monday afternoon. According to The Associated Press, the boat hitched the lobster trap rope at about 10 minutes into its return trip. The cruise was supposed to dock at Boston Harbor at 4:30 p.m. Instead, it stopped dead in the water for nearly 15 hours.

Not all was lost, though. Just 15 miles offshore, the U.S. Coast Guard, which fortunately has a branch stationed at Boston Harbor, was able to easily make it out to the stranded boat. However, freeing the propeller from the lobster trap was tougher than they thought.

According to WCVB, the lobster trap rope was seven inches thick, making it difficult for the Coast Guard. Divers were unable to untangle the trap from the propeller on Monday, and a plan to transfer the passengers of the whale-watching cruise to Coast Guard boats also didn't pan out as expected. So, the Coast Guard remained by the side of the cruise during the night.

Medical personnel were also there in case of an emergency. According to reporter Jessica Reyes of Fox Boston, passengers were given water, food and blankets, as the temperature dropped throughout the night.

Divers were eventually able to cut the lobster trap from the propeller early Tuesday morning, and the cruise returned to Boston Harbor at around 7:30 a.m., docking at Boston's Long Wharf. Sheila Green, a spokesperson for the Boston Harbor Cruises, said passengers were smiling and waving as the boat pulled into shore, apparently unfazed by their unexpected seafaring adventure. "Everybody is safe and secure," Green said.

The whale-watching cruise says a whale sighting is "guaranteed." After 15 hours at sea, it looks like the passengers got what they came for — and a lot more. "We saw whales. It was a beautiful sunrise. It was a beautiful sunset," one passenger told WCVB.

The passengers are leaving with a little bit of cash, too. Boston Harbor Cruises said each passenger will receive $500 in cash, a $100 gift card and a full $50 refund.