Winter Whale Watching

Winter is a fantastic time to board a boat and see if you can spot one of these gentle giants, up close and personal.

 Winter is a fantastic time to board a boat and see if you can spot one of these gentle giants, up close and personal.

 

Photo courtesy of Virginia Aquarium.

 

While it is enticing to hunker down indoors during the winter months, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center invite you to explore the majestic sea on a Winter Wildlife Boat Trip. With the possibility of spotting humpback and fin whales, among other sea-life, it is more than worth throwing on a few extra layers, donning a scarf and venturing down to Virginia Beach.

Humpback and fin whales are found off of the Virginia Beach coastline due to the abundance in menhaden — a type of fish whales typically eat — as well as their mating routes which take them down from the north to warmer waters off the coast of Florida and the Caribbean in the winter.

“We can’t predict [whale sightings], one season to the next. We can’t predict even one boat trip to the next, but some years seem to be better than others. The last couple years the sightings have been amazing,” says Joan Barns, public relations manager of the Virginia Aquarium.

“It is an amazing sight when it does happen,” Barns says, “It’s just an unforgettable experience. And sometimes [the whales] do get fairly close to the boat. You could see the blows from the whales, see them in groups, see them separately, see the flukes. … [And] the bird activity is just as amazing as the whales.” —Cassandra Sturos

(January 2014)

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