Apr 02, 2018

Day Trip to Whale Watching Tours

By Joanne Colella

Cape May Whale Watchers

The welcome approach of warmer weather tends to lead residents and visitors to the shore area, where they can finally begin to enjoy waterside dining, frolicking, sailing, and more. Here’s another fun day trip idea that is sure to provide you with a whale of a tale to share: whale watching! Off the coast of southern New Jersey, whales can usually be spotted from March through December, with peak season from June through September when the ocean temperatures are warmer. During the spring season, whales migrate north in large numbers to Canadian waters, heading past the Garden State and making for some spectacular sightings, particularly at midday when they are feeding and traveling. There are a number of companies that offer whale watching cruises, in addition to or in combination with dolphin watching, including the following two popular tour providers that are based in Cape May.

The Cape May Whale Watcher, located at 1286 Wilson Drive in Cape May, began its 2018 sailings last month and will go out on weekends only through the end of April. In May, they will embark on daily trips through the end of October, wrapping up with weekends again in November and early December. They have a fleet of four vessels, including one longer (110 feet) and faster than most other local operations. The Cape May Whale Watcher boasts comfort, speed, heated and air-conditioned cabins, ample seating, an observation platform and huge upper deck, a snack bar serving hot and cold food, snacks, and beverages – and guaranteed marine mammal sightings, or you get a free pass for a future trip. The three-hour trip is fully and expertly narrated, giving informative insights on local history and marine life. The experienced crew takes passengers into the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, with many sightings in the bay or within 10 miles of land. Their calendar of events also features a number of special sailings, such as Weekend Specials with complimentary continental breakfast, Sunset Cruises with complimentary pizza and hot dogs, Buffet Dinner Cruises, and Fourth of July Fireworks Cruises. Look for more details, including pricing options, at www.capemaywhalewatcher.com.

Also nearby is the Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center, at 1121 Route 109 (Utsch’s Marina) in Cape May.  They boast that they are the company that started it all in 1987 as the original eco-tour operation in Cape May.  Today, they offer educational whale and dolphin tours, with information about the history of Victorian Cape May, the lighthouses, and the U.S. Coast Guard. They also serve as a marine mammal research center, keeping active records on the migration of whales and dolphins coming into the area. The American Star is their 100-foot super ship, with spacious exterior decks, heated interior, semi-enclosed seating on the upper deck, a touch tank of live sea creatures, and a galley that is fully stocked with snacks, hot dogs, pizza, sliders, ice cream, and beverages.  The three-hour tour goes out in search of humpback whales and other species of whales, pods of bottlenose dolphins, plus sea turtles, stingrays, sharks, birds, and more. They offer a guarantee, as well, and in the event of no marine mammal sightings, you will receive a free return trip. True to its name, the Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center also welcomes undergraduates and recent graduates in marine biology, environmental science, or a related field to gain hands-on experience as interns, helping on the tours with data collection and passenger education. Learn more and book your own whale watch outing at www.capemaywhalewatch.com.

As Herman Melville would say, “Thar she blows!”