Saturday, August 28, 2010

Whales Near New York?

When you first think of New York, your first thought may not be whales, but according to USA Today Travel, New York is a top destination for whale watchers. The coastal waters lend themselves to the big sea creatures of the deep, and spectators can see the underwater giants using several different methods.


The simplest method is to stand on the shores of common whale movement areas. The beaches of Long Island are a good place to watch for whales moving between the harbor and the open ocean. There are also whale watching tour companies where guests can ride out into Long Island Sound, or New York Harbor and get up close to the huge ocean mammals.


Some of the roughly 25 species of whales that congregate in the waters around New York include the humpback whale, sperm whale, blue whales, pilot whales, and fin whales.

Where to Watch

Anywhere along the ocean coastline, or any water connected to the ocean is fair game as a location for spotting whales. New York has no shortage of those types of waterways. The best areas noted by whale watching groups is off of Long Island in the Long Island Sound. Other areas whales inhabit include New York Bight, a spot of shallow water at the juncture of Long Island and New Jersey, Gardiner’s Bay, and Block Island Sound.

Whale Watching Seasons

Whales do not really have a season. The waters are open all year round. However, whales inhabit the area when food will be there, and July through September are prime months for the schools of fish and krill fill the water. The tour schedule by CRESLI offers a good guide to the best times to see whales in their natural habitat. The peak times are in July and August when food is plentiful, and near the surface.

What to Wear

The height of the whale watching season is in the heart of the summer months, so it is likely to be warm. However, ocean air, cool breezes, and rain are common occurrences so dress in layers to accommodate any conditions. It’s a good idea to wear sunglasses. The sun’s glare on water is much harsher than on land. Wear a hat to prevent sunburn, and bring plenty of sun block.