Whenever I’m sitting blissfully on the Beach with my coffee in the late Summer, staring intently at the Sea, it’s inevitable that someone will approach me and ask what I’m looking at.

“Humpback Whales,” I answer.

That person always responds with some variant of this statement: “I’ve been comin’ here my whole life and I’ve never seen a Whale. You sure?”

Since I only take pictures from the beaches of LBI, it’s no surprise that nearly half my Whale shots include absolutely clueless humans missing the obvious. Surfers, kayakers, shell collectors, sunbathers… you name it. Even when the magnificent Humpbacks are breaching dramatically out of the water in broad daylight, in water just beyond the places everyone is swimming, entire beaches full of people don’t see a thing. Sure some people don’t care.  But most Islanders, when you point out a magnificent Humpback to them, will become captivated and forever more possess a magic moment in their memory, and be bonded even more closely to the Island that is already their heart’s treasure. Whales are powerful like that.

Admittedly, Whale Watching on LBI takes some calculated timing, a lot of patience, and a little luck. But more so, we are conditioned to look at the Beach as our sterile playground, our vacation fantasy world, our backdrop to good times with our friends and families. It’s easy to forget that the Beach is actually a thriving habitat where stuff that is not us lives. Once you start to see the Island as more than just ours, all those creatures trying to scratch a living out of it as they did long before we arrived, and will continue to long after we’re gone, start popping all over the place.

Don’t Miss the Magic. Come join us at the Ann Coen Gallery in Surf City on August 14th. Come & I promise to tell you everything I know about spotting Whales from the comfort of your beach chair.