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A Whale of a Time

8/12/2022 – Breaching Humpback Whale, CMWWRC Database. Photo by Mackenzie Briggs.   Friday, August 12th, 2022 had started like any normal day interning on the American Star for the Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center. I prepared the equipment for a day researching Cape May’s marine life. I had no idea that this day would…

A World Worth Worshiping

You soak in your last glimpse of the horizon line, then you descend into the turquoise world, toying with your buoyancy until you weigh nothing: you are part of the sea now. Your feet propel you forward and there in front of you lies the silent city and boy is it bustling. Your curiosity mirrors their own as tiny heads peak out of coral pores. You know this is the most beautiful landscape you have ever seen. Fairy Basslets congregate with their bodies vertical at roofs edging the water surface as if they rule the city. A kaleidoscope of parrot fish hovers on the seafloor and you can hear the *click click*s of their snacking. You thank them for their service, recognizing that they are the clean up crew of this vibrant town, keeping corals from getting caked in algae,…

The Loggerhead Sea Turtle

As we make our way off the shore of Cape May to look for our larger marine mammals the water becomes increasingly clearer, and this is when it happened!   For the past couple of weeks, the water temperature had been consistently over 70 degrees and more wildlife was being spotted. I had seen tons…

Three Simple Ways to Do Your Part

    If you are anything like me, your social media feed may be flooded with the dire state of our oceans. While this fact is rather unsettling, all hope is not lost. In fact, there are three simple lifestyle changes you can make that would have an immediate positive impact on our oceans.  Switch to…

The Hydrodynamic Head of Hammerhead Sharks

When interning on a whale watching boat, of course the main goal is to find and spot some whales and dolphins. For me, I was always secretly hoping that on our outing we would come across my favorite marine animal, sharks. My wish came true and my favorite day on the boat turned out to…

Don’t Release Your Balloons!

Here at Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center we participate in the Clean Ocean Initiative. Each time marine debris is spotted during the cruise we collect it and record the day, weather conditions, as well as take a picture of the debris. Balloons are our most collected piece of debris. It is important to…

Deep Sea Adventures and Deeper Sea Divers

When I was invited to intern for the 24-hour pelagic trip that was planned for June 3-4, 2022, I knew it was an opportunity I could not refuse. The chance to be on a boat for an entire day searching for offshore marine mammals, pelagic birds and other organisms seemed too amazing to turn down,…

The Mystery of the Oceanic Sunfish (Mola mola)

One of my most impactful experiences happened aboard the American Star on May 26, 2022. It was my third day as an intern at the Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center and Icould not wait to get out into the open waters. As we were leaving the inlet to enter the AtlanticOcean, that’s when…

Horseshoe Crab Spawning in New Jersey

The Atlantic Horseshoe Crab, also called by the scientific name Limulus polyphemus, are prehistoric animals that have been on Earth for millions of years. They are in the Phylum Arthropoda. The horseshoe crabs’ structure dates 245 million years ago in the Carboniferous Period and they are more closely related to spiders, ticks, and scorpions (Tanacredi, Bottom & Smith…

The Impending Extinction of the Vaquita

In 2017, I purchased one of my first travel mugs. A percentage of this purchase went to fund conservation of the vaquita (Phocoena sinus), which is a small porpoise endemic to the Gulf of California in Mexico (Porpoise Conservation Society). I still use this mug today- I’m using it as I write this blog post. When I bought the travel mug, there were fewer than 30 vaquitas left. In 2021, this estimation has dropped to less than 10 (IUCN). What is a vaquita? In Spanish, “vaquita” translates to “little cow.” Vaquitas are the smallest cetaceans on Earth, and are identifiable by dark rings around both eyes and dark patches at the mouth reaching back toward the eyes (World Wildlife Fund).  The species was not discovered until 1950, when a vaquita skull was found on the northern shore of the Gulf…