First time seeing whales and dolphins in the wild
Bri and humpback whales
The White Sharks and Whales Expedition with WDC and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy was an important day for our Education Specialist, Briannah Baptiste who had this to say about her first-ever whale watching experience:
"I went into it with no real expectations - of course I was excited about the chance to see some marine life, but I wasn't really sure what to expect. Seeing that first group of humpback whales was amazing. It's impossible to grasp just how big and majestic they are until you see them in person! It's almost hard to believe they're real the first time you see them."
Ed and bottlenose dolphins
About twenty years ago, I was helping a friend prepare for a solo rowing trip across the Atlantic Ocean. We'd borrowed an ocean rowing boat and taken it out onto Cardigan Bay (in the Irish Sea) for a two-day trip to test it out. On the second morning, out of sight of land, we were joined by an enormous pod of bottlenose dolphins. One minute the sea was empty and the next we were surrounded by dolphins - at least a 100 or more. They stayed with us for about ten minutes, and one even leapt over the back of the boat, right in front of me! I've seen dolphins since, but never in quite a spectacular way.
I spent my 29th birthday whale watching in Stellwagen Bank off the coast of Boston. Whales have always been my favorite animals! Especially blue whales- but I always been fascinated by humpback whales. I remember seeing Fantasia 2000 in the movie theatre as a kid during a field trip. We got into the movie late, as giant whales were flying on the screen. I remember being fascinated by these huge humpbacks flying right in front of me, which helped cement this wonder in whales that continues to this day! On my birthday, my husband was standing on the bow of the boat while I was going from port to starboard trying to get as many pics and videos as possible. He managed to capture this incredible video of a female humpback diving RIGHT BELOW our boat! I saw the same whale, but nothing can top this perspective! It was such an exhilarating experience that brought me back to my childhood, seeing those flying whales come to life!
IG @slugsinthegarden & @ryanduran2528
Aaron and San Diego dolphins
I visited my sister in San Diego last September and we went on a whale watching trip. We did not see any whales, but we did see a lot of dolphins and it was an incredible experience. There were hundreds and hundreds of dolphins swimming insanely fast. I had seen them way off in the distance before, but being so close while they were swimming next to the boat was awesome. I felt like I was on National Geographics and there was orchestral music playing for everyone to hear. It was crazy to see such different creatures in the wild.
Alana and whales in Mexico
My first and only whale sighting was while on a vacation to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. We went on a whale watching trip on a catamaran. The whales came right up to the side of the boat and looked at us tourists as we were looking at them. It was as though someone had told them that there was a good chance that if they came to the surface, they might see some humans.