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Whale & Dolphin Sightings… Off the Cape May, New Jersey Coast!
Sustainable Travels

Whale & Dolphin Sightings… Off the Cape May, New Jersey Coast!

Ever since I read the eco-thriller “Eye of the Whale“, I’ve wanted to see whales in the flesh.  The fictional novel is fascinating, as it’s full of true whale facts and habits. And I knew I HAD to see a little blowhole sooner than later…

When I saw a Philly Dealyo deal for Whale Watching in Cape May, I was almost suspicious that whales wouldn’t cross the south jersey seas.  However, I was quite pleased to find out they did!

Five of my friends from an Avalon shorehouse and I decided to embark on the 2.5 hour tour from Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center at 9:30 on Saturday morning.  I ensured the authenticity by making myself as sailor-like as possible:

The cruise started off the shore of Cape May, where we waited to spot dolphins.  Oh, and we did spot them! They were very active on Saturday morning, playing close to the boat and even going underneath to the other side at one point.  We had some great photo ops, although I missed the money shot of them flipping through the air.

It’s so much better to see the dolphins here vs. sea world for so many reasons.  Dolphins die young in captivity – they’re forced to live in stressful, chlorinated, artificial conditions away from their friends & family.  And are also forced to eat dead fish (vs. they normally hunt in the wild.)  Plus, a captive dolphin “trick” to jump on a concrete pool deck can crush their internal organs over time.

After we had enough dolphin play time, we sailed out to sea. On the way, we saw a group of pelicans right at the shoreline on their morning fly routine.  Pretty sweet sight, if I may say myself:

As we embarked on our journey, the crew of naturalists kept us informed with facts of the local ecology system, especially dolphins & whales. How do they guarantee you’ll see a whale? The boat communicates with others in Cape May, so they can track the whales.  Luckily, a sister boat had spotted a humpback whale in the Atlantic Ocean.

We were able to continue our journey until we were within viewing distance of the whale. They thought it was a smaller humpback (perhaps a baby with its mother nearby) – but still a 30 foot animal.  The boat stayed there apprx 20-25 minutes, and we were able to see the whale surfacing about 10-12 times before we had to sail back to shore.

Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center actively follows the Northeast Whale Watching Guidelines, which prohibits whales within 1000 feet.  I’m guessing we were stationed around ½ mile away but were still able to get a good view.

Supporting activities where you’re looking at the animals in the wild (versus in captivity) is a great effort to help animals stay in their natural habitat. Plus, over 1500 whales are killed yearly for commercial and “research” whaling operations – primarily in Norway, Japan & Iceland.  As we mentioned during Shark Week, there’s nothing louder than your wallet when you support natural habitats – alive. Plus, as stated from the whale watching website, “a portion of the cost of your trip & any merchandise purchased is used to support on-going research and education.”

Try it – you don’t even have to go further than Cape May. Plus, you may even learn a thing or two. Like what baleen looks  & feels like:

Readers, have you ever had a rendezvous with whale watching? Tell us in the comments!

Posted by Julie

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

2 thoughts on “Whale & Dolphin Sightings… Off the Cape May, New Jersey Coast!

  1. Dirty Jersey Sea’s???? No sweetheart, not dirty at all, get educated. Lived in Cape May/Wildwood area forever. Now, if your talking about North Jersey, where all the pollution is, that’s a different story. Please get your fact’s straight.

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