This summer Ocean City, Maryland has seen an unusual number of whale sightings along its shorelines. Most recently, patrons of Paradise Watersports were treated to an up close encounter with humpback whales playfully breaching within 50 feet of the boat during a parasailing outing in the ocean between 15th St and 30th St. Captain Tyler Barnes of Paradise Watersports says it’s common to see whales from a distance throughout this summer, but seeing one within a mile of the shoreline is a rare and “an extremely unique event.”
Normally, seeing a humpback whale of this size so close to shore means the mammal is in distress, but photos taken by Paradise Watersports employees indicate that these particular humpbacks were leisurely swimming around and completely unharmed. This is not the first whale sighting close to the beach this summer and, if recent trends continue, it won’t be the last. The National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program reports that an unusual number of whales are feeding closer to land this season because of the presence of large numbers of menhaden fish schooling in the area.
As of this writing, whale watching tours are common at northern beaches, but not here in Maryland. If sightings like this one continue to occur, whale tours in Ocean City may be available sooner rather than later, but, in the meantime, if you’d like to try catch a glimpse of these beautiful mammals yourself, along with other sea creatures like dolphins and sea turtles that are commonly seen in the ocean, parasailing with Paradise Watersports is your best bet. Paradise is located at the docks of Hooper’s Crab House. Call 410-213-SOAR or book reservations online at www.Paradise-Watersports.com.