Spring 2024 Report

By Captain Jeff Stewart Jr.

What a long strange trip it has been.

You may have noticed, or not noticed a lack of posts in our blog. That is my fault. I am the one to blame. It has been a difficult couple of years to post happy thoughts.... Pretty much since COVID (yup he said that) So I have not felt compelled to update, chat, report. We struggled to survive as a company in 2020, 2021 and now we are on the other side. Out of that came rebuilding a team of people (our crew) from the ground up as everyone left during COVID except for the rare few.

It turns out it was exactly what we needed to grow as a company. We have flipped the script on the crew and discovered a new level of customer service previously not found on boat rides in Cape May, New Jersey and certainly not on whale watching boats on the East Coast. Our new crew are truly inspiring, awesome people with a myriad of backgrounds and skill sets. If you have not met them, you should definitely chat them up on your next cruise.

So our blogs had consisted of some excellent naturalists which have moved on, which made me need to move on...Its taken years, but I think I am there. I now have some new Naturalists which I very much look forward to their posts as well as more from myself.

Now on to the promised report! Its been awhile also for any reports. It is not because sightings have been poor. It comes down to time management. As it is, I am typing this between getting the kids on the bus, cleaning up breakfast, and getting to the boat to fuel, and update social media (I have been keeping up instagram and facebook and X with a bit of help from our new Marketing Assistant).

Spring 2024 has been the and continues to be the best in the past five years. This rivals spring of 2019 and may be better in terms of Bottlenose dolphin sightings. We have had a huge amount of bunker in Delaware Bay, which has brought tons of life. We have had Fin whales, Humpback whales, Right whales, and Minke whales already for the 2024 season! All have been within ten miles of Cape May. The Humpback whale sightings currently are coming from within the Delaware Bay. We have seen Humpback whales as near to shore as 100 yards, which is not uncommon when their food source is inshore along the beach.

The activity level is off the charts. We have had breaching, lunge feeding, kick feeding, lobtailing, spy hopping and more! The Humpback whales have stolen the show as the most often sighted species of baleen whale. The Bottlenose dolphins have been everywhere! Inshore, Offshore, in the Back Bays, in our Creek! Everywhere. In fact our sightings of Bottlenose dolphins have been consistent since our start in March, but it is not the most interesting fact. What is more interesting is the fact that over 90% of our Humpback whale sightings have coincided with Bottlenose dolphins! So in general terms, everytime (almost) we see a whale, there are dolphins present! That is how competitive this food source of Menhaden (Bunker) is.

We have also seen the largest amount of Horseshoe crab spawning on the banks of the Delaware Bay and in our own Spicer Creek that we have ever seen (in 35 years of whale watching!) The Shore birds are delighting in so many Horseshoe crab eggs. We have seen Purple sandpipers, Sanderlings, Semipalmated sandpipers, Red knots, Black back gulls, laughing gulls etc, all feeding in Spicers Creek as we are departing and returning on trips!

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