During the summer months, humpback, finback, and minke whales migrate to Long Island waters to feed on the plankton and krill that are plentiful near the surface of the ocean. During these months is the best opportunity for taking whale watching tours near Long Island.
You can take a large boat that will carry dozens of passengers, or smaller vessels that give the opportunity for a more intimate setting and a more personal tour guide that can help educate you about these incredible creatures, their habits, and their habitat.
Many whale watching vessels are also equipped with under water microphones and PA systems that can pick up sounds made by the whales. If you are lucky enough to have a whale close by that is "vocalizing," with its distinctive songs of squeaks and grunts, you will get to hear its unique voice on the boat (a single humpback song can last 10-20 minutes!).
These majestic creatures are amazing to see up close; a whale's size and power are truly astounding to witness. Whales are intelligent creatures that are very curious. At times they will follow right alongside the watching boat, which gives you an amazing experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Humpback whales have become the favorite whales to see near LI; they reach upwards of 55 feet in length, weighing in at upwards of 50 tons. Humpbacks are dark in color with nodules on their rostrum, and their huge flippers which propel them through the water are almost a third of their body length. They are an endangered species, but are slowly growing in number due to stricter whaling restrictions.
Because much of this generation of whale has never known a boat to be an enemy, more and more of the whales that come near Long Island are comfortable swimming right up to the boats and rubbing against or circling around them. Sometimes they'll even or roll on to one side and extend a flipper, almost as if to wave hello!
Whale watching season starts in late spring and goes through until September. Whale watching has helped educate people about these magnificent creatures and has helped to create more protection for them as more whaling restrictions are enacted. If you are visiting Long Island during the summer months make sure to jump aboard a whale watching vessel for a fun tour that can create memories to last a lifetime!