Humpback Whale Spotted on Cape May - Lewes Ferry!
Molly Murray, The News Journal
In the 85 minutes it took to cross Delaware Bay from Lewes to Cape May, one group of Cape May-Lewes Ferry riders was treated to a unique view of nature – a massive humpback whale, smacking the water, blowing and rolling along.
The moment was captured on video Tuesday by ferry crew member Kyra Jarmon, complete with the oohs and aahs of the passengers.
"We've seen lots of dolphins" this year, said captain Dave Macomber. And all ferry passengers have watched a pair of ospreys nesting at the Lewes terminal over the last several months. Three eggs hatched on Sunday, and now, passengers coming and going can monitor the progress of the baby birds.
But the massive whale was something straight out of the wilds of Alaska.
"Over the years, it's happened a dozen times or so," said Macomber, who has worked on the ferry since 1990 and has been a captain since 1997.
Macomber said the ferry captains keep in contact with local whale and dolphin charter captains who operate in the bay.
When he came on his shift Tuesday morning, another ferry captain told him a humpback whale had been spotted near the ferry terminal in New Jersey.
"We kept an eye out for it all day," he said. Then, on Macomber's last trip out of Lewes, he got word from a whale-watching boat that one was spotted.
"I held off making an announcement" to the passengers, he said.
He altered course slightly to get the ferry closer to where the whale was spotted and then suggested over the intercom system that passengers might want to get out their cameras and binoculars.
"All of my passengers went out on the outer deck," he said. "I slowed the boat down," and the whale surfaced.
"I started hearing people hooting and hollering," he said.
Macomber made a wide circle around the whale so passengers could have a look but also to give the animal plenty of room.
Macomber said the whale might have been in the bay chasing schools of menhaden.
"It all happened so fast," he said.
For many of the passengers, he suspects it was their first chance to see a whale.
"There's people who haven't even seen saltwater."
Check out video on ferry Facebook page.
About the Cape May-Lewes Ferry
The Cape May – Lewes Ferry is owned and operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, a bi-state governmental agency created by Compact in 1962. The Ferry is open year-round and has carried more than 43 million passengers since its inception on July 1, 1964. In 2013, the ferry service, which connects Victorian Cape May, New Jersey, and historic Lewes, Delaware, transported approximately 275,000 vehicles and nearly 1 million passengers. For schedule, rates and other program information, please visit the ferry’s website at www.CMLF.com, or call toll free, 800-643-3779. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @CMLFerry.