Whale migration spottings on East Coast

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239 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
We are doing a repo leaving Baltimore on 11/21/04 down the east coast; then eastern and southern carribean, and ending in Miami 13 days later. Is there any chance of seeing whales on this itenenirary at this time of year? I don't know if the Atlantic whales migrate from North to South at that time of year, like the whales migrate in the Pacific.

Since we will be stopping at Norfolk and Charleston on our way down the coast, I doubt that we will be sailing very far off the coast each day (and daylight will be limited at that time of year). My recollection from geography, or earth/sciences (now you have an idea of my age) is that the continental shelf is much further out on the Atlantic coast, and much closer on the Pacific coast which probably would be a factor (meaning it is shallow farther out on the Atlantic, and deep close up in the Pacific). Also having flown over the Carribean several times, it would seem too shallow for whales to be able to maneuver in most of that body of water.

Sorry, before we started cruising three + years ago we had a neighborhood marine biologist (doesn't everyone????) who could answer questions like this for me, but she has moved to Florida, where there are more species, and I lost her e-mail address. Thus I don't know whom to ask, but thought that someone here could give an answer, and this is a lot easier than asking Mr. Jeeves a whole bunch of questions, or spending lots of hours researching, as I know that someone, who might read this, will be able to say, Yes, look for whales, or No, forget about it as they are further out in the ocean. I want to get closer in seeing whales than the few experiences that I have had in the past.

On previous trips to Hawaii and Alaska (which require planning from our location in Maryland) I've researched and previously reserved whale watching events......Mauii excursion was in November which is supposedly primo, and Capt. Dave in Alaska was in early September when they are all grouping to head south; both pre-reserved events were thwarted by weather.

Thanks for any possible answers or recommendations, although keep in mind that I'm writing this on a cruise BB so I have no control on altering our schedule for this.
Raleigh, N.C.
12,043 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
According to what I found, the whale watching from Norfolk is best in January and February. We frequently go to the North Carolina beaches in November and December. We see a lot of dolphins that time of year. Whales don't normally get that close to shore.
Baltimore, Maryland
102 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
My wife and I go to Virginia Beach every winter January-February and take whale watching tours sponsored by the Marine museum. I also have a condo there and spend a great deal of time there during the summer....lots of dolphins but have naver seen any whales in the spring/summer.
Suburb of Chicago, Illinois, USA
141 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
We were on a repo cruise in April 17 through May 2nd. of this year in the same area that you are going and saw Dolphins and ONE whale. Although the captain (it was NOT Larry nor David ) kept announcing that their was a family whales on the portside and ahead of us about one mile. We never saw them.

The one we saw came up next to the ship.
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239 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
It was the small whale watching boat in Alaska that was corrected to be Capt. Larry, and has such a positive reputation on this board (but unfortunately could not take us for safety reasons).

I appreciate that people have actually seen whales, but since we have not seen them in places in which we should have, and this does not sound promising for this cruise, I will probably stay on deck as the odds now are to see whale activity often (at least I know that there are still some whales alive in the Atlantic). Thanks. Rd
Baltimore, Maryland
102 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
I guess you could take this as a warning. If you ever get the chance to go on a whale watching tour/excursion and you get really close to one. When they blow water and air out of their blow holes....well it is sorta like a person "Breaking Wind" - Farting! My first whale watching adventure was out of Glouster(sp), Ma. And we got really close to a whale and it is the most foulest smell that I have ever smelled in my life. But the captain of the boat said that we should be congratulated because most people do not get that close. There is a part of me that had wished that we hadn't that day. LOL!