By Michelangelo DeSantis
Cape May, New Jersey is known for its brightly painted Victorian-style homes, sandy beaches, and bird watching, but there is another fun-filled thing to do in this seaside resort.
Cape May Whale Watchers is a local tour operator that runs a Grand Lighthouse Cruise during the summer months. Yes, this is exactly what you’re thinking – a boat ride to visit several lighthouses in Delaware Bay. A self-styled lighthouse geek, I stumbled upon this cruise while doing internet research for a photo book about New Jersey lighthouses. I decided it would be worthwhile for me to finish the photos of offshore lights.
The cruise boards around 9:30 AM and sails at 10:00 AM, with a bunch of lighthouse fans. Armed with two cameras and a notepad, I took a position on the upper deck port side after inquiring from a mate where the best shooting position would be.
Captain Jeff Stewart oversaw the boat and provided expert narration in addition to expert navigation. He maneuvered the 100-foot boat as close to each lighthouse as conditions would permit to facilitate taking photos on what turned out to be a five-and-a-half-hour cruise. In addition to the stops to visit the lighthouses, we were treated to short stops to watch Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins in the bay.
The cruise is $95 per adult with discounts for kids, and the entire booking process is handled on-line. Cape May Whale Watchers provides a continental breakfast and a full buffet lunch including shrimp, fried chicken, sandwiches, salads, and a special treat. Dessert was a sheet cake with whipped cream frosting and an image of Brandywine Shoals light airbrushed in.
This was ultimately a working cruise for me as I was completing the photos for my book, but I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and am making plans to try their Sunset Lighthouse Cruise in the future. If you are a lighthouse aficionado, this cruise may be the only chance to see up close the lights in the middle of Delaware Bay.
For more information about Cape May Whale Watcher Tours visit capemaywhalewatcher.com.
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