A Rookie Whale Watching Naturalist’s First Year on the Water
By Abby van Hemmen
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 7:30 pm via Zoom
Navesink Maritime Heritage Association is pleased to announce another in its series of public Zoom presentations - this time with a focus on the whales off the Jersey Shore. Access to this free presentation will be by registering at NavesinkMaritime.Org/Events.
Abby van Hemmen, a marine naturalist for Seastreak’s whale watching tours, will provide an overview of her first year on the water off Sandy Hook. Participants will get an inside look at what it takes to prepare for a whale watching season and for each day’s many surprises
Using photographs from the 2020 season, Abby will identify and describe each of the diverse species encountered. Information covering biology, life history, conservation and current research will be shared through a series of stories from the boat.
From the 17th century to the early 19th century, whales were fairly plentiful off the Jersey coast. The Colonial settlers, from Sandy Hook to Delaware Bay, would post lookouts, and when a whale was sighted, they would set off from the shore in small boats to harpoon and kill the mammal. They would then tow it to shore, cut it up and boil the blubber down into oil. In the 21st century we can all enjoy these magnificent mammals as they peacefully populate our shores.
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