About Cynde


Cynde McInnis grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Oddly enough, although surrounded by farms, she fell in love with whales at the age of eight. In 1994, she graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Psychology, focusing on learning and development. In August 1994, she interned with Ocean Alliance and Cape Ann Whale Watch of Gloucester, MA. Told she would eat, sleep and think whales, she thought, “What could be better?”

This three-month internship turned into a career, and for the past 21 years, she has developed and led Cape Ann Whale Watch’s Field Research and Marine Education Internship, training over 75 interns and numerous volunteers in data collection techniques and presentation of educational programs aboard whale watch boats. She has led around 2000 whale watch trips and taught tens of thousands of people about whales and the threats they face in our oceans today.

In 2002, she completed a master’s degree from Lesley University, in Interdisciplinary Studies, creating her own program of study focusing on whale watch education. For her thesis, she developed a curriculum for whale watch trips; to cultivate respect for our oceans, to educate about their environmental threats and to inspire people to make a commitment towards their protection.








While working for Ocean Alliance, Cynde participated in the Voyage of the Odyssey, a five-year global expedition designed to gather comprehensive research on the health of the worlds' oceans and the toxicity of whales. By gathering and analyzing blubber and skin samples from sperm whales, Ocean alliance was the first organization to document toxic levels of DDT, heavy metals, flame-retardants and PCB's in sperm whales all over the world. 

Cynde has also coordinated and participated in teacher training programs sponsored by the University of Georgia and The Museum Institute for Teaching Science, MITS.  She has led camps for children in the Gloucester area and teaches at Maritime Gloucester. She was the education chair for the American Cetacean Society for two years


Currently, Cynde is very involved with whale conservation from many angles. She works as Education Director at Cape Ann Whale Watch, which is a member of the World Cetacean Alliance-- a world wide non-profit made up of individuals, non-profits and whale watch companies, all working together for whales and dolphins. Cynde is the Chair of the whale watch working group as well as Vice-President of the Global Council. She also has a leading role in organizing the Net Effect campaign. She is also the Vice-President of Cetacean Society International, an all volunteer non-profit  that advocates for the well-bring of whales and dolphins worldwide.

about nile

The real humpback whale

Nile is an adult female humpback whale that lives in the North Atlantic (NA). In the Western NA, humpbacks are named after marks on their tail. Nile has a large black line on the left hand side that looks like the Nile River. She was born in 1987 to a whale named Mars. Mars was first sighted in 1979, and sighted early in 2015 as well. She has returned to the coast of Massachusetts with 10 different calves (including Nile) over the past 36 years and counting. Nile herself has been a mom 5 times, with her most recent calf in 2014.













Nile is one of Cynde's favorite whales. The first trip she did as naturalist by herself was in early October, 1995. It was a beautiful calm day, and Nile surfaced head first right next to the boat. She was a very friendly whale, meaning she would come spend time next to the boat, seeming to check it out. Cynde remembers when Nile returned with her first calf in 1998, a whale given the name Amazon. Nile has been seen almost every year Cynde has been working with Cape Ann Whale Watch.It's no surprise that Nile is the whale that Cynde chose to make a replica of. If you are lucky, if you go whale watching, you might see her!!! It's happened a few times already!!