Our family received a complementary tour on the Cape May Whale Watcher in exchange for this review but all opinions and enthusiasm are 100% our own.
Every summer we vacation on the New Jersey shore. For several years, I've been following the Cape May Whale Watcher via Facebook and more recently their Instagram. I've been dreaming of taking one of their tours. Even when you aren't on the boat, their animal sightings are exciting to watch via social media!
Before we set sail, I told friends and family that if we saw a whale, I'd likely cry. I've always loved marine mammals and been drawn to the ocean so this trip would be a bucket list dream come true for me! We are very passionate and outspoken about animals including our beliefs that non-domesticated animals shouldn't be made to perform for profit in captivity (as I wrote about when I shared why we are morally opposed to the circus) so there will never be any trips to aquariums for our family.
E and I had just completed a unit on marine mammals so this was the perfect culminating activity for here homeschool learning. Cape May Whale Watcher was also generous enough to allow Mr. SPS to come along too. He wanted to try out his new camera lens and be in charge of the photos so I could concentrate on enjoying the sight seeing with E. He got some great shots!
The trip is completely educational from start to finish. The Cape May Whale Watcher guarantees marine mammal sightings or you get to return for another tour to try again at your convenience. The didn't disappoint! Immediately we saw and learned about nesting ospreys in the area. (See the other one in the nest?) Soon not far from shore we were surrounded by so many dolphins!
The Captain was broadcasting educational information as we observed the dolphin families in their natural habitat. We had read several books on dolphins but the insight he was giving us wouldn't be found in any library book we read. He shared real life experiences and stories of watching these beautiful creatures day after day for years. Did you know that for every dolphin you see coming up to the surface to breathe there are around five others in the pod fully submerged? The Captain explained how the crew of the ship had learned this from years of experience with dolphin watching by tracking one individual animal with a unique fin!There were so many things we loved about the Cape May Whale Watcher including the atmosphere of the boat, the knowledge and kindness of the whole crew, and the snacks and fully stocked bar available on the ship. But what stays in my heart, other than seeing these dolphins, was what the Captain said about dolphins in the wild versus dolphins in captivity.
The Captain shared statistics that are heart breaking. For every one dolphin living and performing in captivity, three others were killed or captured and didn't survive to make it to the tanks. The water in the enclosures contains chemicals that cause the animals to go blind. Then he said something I'll never forget. He explained that he doesn't care if we are observing the dolphins from his boat or a competitors because either was better than supporting any facilities that keep marine mammals in tanks.
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