It was a slow season for Dolphin. This was expected, especially on the North End, with all of the noise the beach replenishment operation makes underwater. And so it was reasonable to assume that the Humpbacks would avoid the Island’s nearshore waters as well once they began their epic migration southward. Marine mammals hate those mechanical underwater noises. They can’t hear themselves think their amazing thoughts, like, “Hey, I’m a Whale and am really, really awesome.”
Well, I suppose if the food is good enough most of us will tolerate the nosiest of restaurants; Humpback Whales included. This has been an epic season for Humpbacks so far, thanks in no small part to great wind setups balling up the Bunker they love to nom nom, day after day. This certainly has been the best summer season for Humpbacks in five or six years.
Humpbacks have been frolicking about the surf on a daily basis for the past few weeks, and today was no exception. Well, except for the timing. Today’s special combination of wind and water were a perfect setup to draw in the Humpbacks right in the middle of the day during a gorgeous low tide when everyone on the beach couldn’t not see them even if they tried.
It is amazing how many lifetime LBI residents and visitors who have “been coming’ here my whole life” will tell you how they’ve never, ever seen a Whale at the beach. I always advise these folks that they are either a.) not looking or b.) not looking at the right times. I used to not see them too. But Humpbacks are doing well thanks to thoughtful protections put in place to help them and it is getting easier and easier each year to find them.
But today was really, super special because not only did we have an extremely curious Humpback out in the middle of the day when everyone was out on the beach, but it circled around and around, actively feeding, for almost an hour, right in the surf. And soon two pods of forty or so Dolphin came leaping into the surf from the deep seas to join the fun and act as an Island escort.
It was so close, people got epic pics using their cellphones and GoPros. People even got bored of watching it.
For many folks out on the beach today, this was one of those legendary experiences we will never forget. One of those days we’ll remember almost every time we think of the Island. A story we will tell for the rest of our lives. A story we’ll use in conversation to one-up anyone who dares to tell a story of how they once saw a Whale down the shore.
All of the beautiful magic of the shore just leaping from the sea and making your heart pound.
It’s the wildness that truly makes the Shore special. There’s not a toy, a home, a meal, an ice cream, golf course, or a t-shirt that can thrill the soul like a Humpback breaching while you’re swimming.