It’s not every day that whales pass this close to the Outer Banks. These are the big guys, too–humpback whales–not the wonderfully playful dolphins and porpoises that we usually see.
They’re mostly gone now, or at least probably gone. Superstorm Nemo took care of that, churning the waters up and blowing hard from the north, no one has had a chance to see if they’re out there for the past few days.
But for four or five days last week, they put on quite a show. They don’t get quite as close to the shore as their smaller cousins–they weigh between 75,000 and 80,000 pounds and are 40-50’ long, so sandbars and shallow water would not be a good environment for them.
Nonetheless, they were very clear, ranging about a quarter to half mile off the shoreline. Jennette’s Pier jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean 1000’ was probably the best viewing platform on the Outer Banks. There is a $2.00 donation that is asked before going out on the pier, but it is money well spent–especially if you get a chance to see a whale sounding or a giant fluke appear and smack the water. Those vacationers in Nags Head oceanfront rentals reported quite a show from the ocean facing living space and decks!
There have been reports of pilot whales swimming around Jennette’s Pier as well although no one got any pictures of them. Pilot whales are in the same family of whales as dolphins, but they are bigger. Much more common in Outer Banks waters than humpback whales, but seeing them is still pretty exciting.
It’s all part of the magic of living here–or visiting. We are perched at the edge of a continent, and there’s not much between us and Bermuda but open water. There is a very real sense of nature at your doorstep on the Outer Banks–a wonderful reminder that we are living in a place of magic and beauty.