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Humpback whales spotted off coast of Ocean City

EcosystemsConservationBoatsNational Aquarium BaltimoreAquacultureEndangered Species

The ocean is full of life and if you’re lucky you get to see it when you visit the shore. Some parasailers in Ocean City got very lucky last Sunday when they spotted a humpback whale playing in the water below them.

“The boats were in the right place at the right time,” said Tyler Barnes, owner of Paradise Watersports.

The parasailing boats were within a mile of the shore when the whale appeared, breaching several times around the boats.

“The whale wasn’t scared or anything, it was just playfully doing its thing” Barnes said.

While taking customers parasailing, Barnes said boats frequently find sea turtles and dolphins, but in the nine years he has run the Ocean City company he has only seen about one or two live whales each year.

He wasn’t there to spot the whale July 28, but his captains Kyle Miller and Ryan Gallagher were, and they snapped some amazing photos of the whale when it came within 50 feet of the boat.

Jennifer Dittmar, stranding coordinator for the National Aquarium, said whales rarely approach boats. She said they simply have no reason to.

“Large whales are off our coast almost all year round, but to have a photo documentation is rare,” she said.

Rare, but not unheard of. In 2010 a humpback whale came in close to the shoreline, giving the whole beach a show.

Humpback whales have been on the list of endangered species since 1970.

To help protect aquatic animals The National Aquarium suggests you slow down while boating, dispose of trash properly and never throw fishing line or nets away in the water because animals can become entangled.

If you spot an animal stranded on the shore, keep your distance (you are legally required to) and contact either the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at 800-628-9944 or the National Aquarium’s stranded animal hotline at 410-373-0083.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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EcosystemsConservationBoatsNational Aquarium BaltimoreAquacultureEndangered Species
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