• Gina Matarazzo

Photo Fun Excursions: Captain Schumann’s Whale & Dolphin Cruise

I took numerous photo trips during 2019, with most of them being in the Summer. Some were individual or with friends, while others were part of a fantastic photography course I took at Northampton Community College (Tannersville, PA). If I dedicated one blog to all the trips I made last year, that blog would be long! So, instead, I have decided to feature some of these trips in my blog twice a month, entitling them “Photo Fun Excursions” My goal is to introduce you to some of the places I loved exploring. These are the places where I captured great photos, but most importantly, they created great memories. This week’s stop takes you to Wildwood, NJ and the famous Captain Schumann’s Whale and Dolphin Cruise!

The tradition of going on Captain Schumann’s Whale and Dolphin Cruise started back during the Summer of 2009 when my family vacationed in Atlantic City, NJ. Since we would be staying in Atlantic City for an entire week, we wanted to find new places to go and unique things to do. At one time, Harrah’s, a popular hotel in Atlantic City, had a boat called the Harrah Bell. Visitors could take a mini-cruise around Harrah’s and some of the adjacent hotels. However, over time, the interest in cruises died, and the Harrah Bell is no longer an attraction for tourists. The only way people could enjoy a cruise is to visit neighboring cities like Margate and Wildwood. Upon looking for a cruise, we came across Captain Schumann, who is located in Wildwood. It’s only about 45 minutes from Atlantic City to Wildwood, so my family decided to give the cruise a try. Hence the start of our yearly summer tradition!

Captain Schumann offers several cruises throughout the day: a morning cruise (about 2 hours), an afternoon cruise (about 3 to 3 1/2 hours), and an evening “happy hour” cruise. We take the afternoon cruise because you are more opt to see the bottlenose dolphin. It would help if you arrived about 15-20 minutes early (I recommend 30-45 minutes) to get your ticket and get a good seat. The boat, called the Big Blue Sightseer, has an upper and lower deck. The upper deck is great for catching some rays and great shots of the dolphins. However, it does get crowded on top! Captain Schumann narrates for the first hour and a half, providing useful information about Wildwood, ocean conservation, the ospreys that are building their nests in the bay, and the bottlenose dolphin. He tells you to begin searching the water for dolphins when he cruises near the beaches at Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. On a good day, you can see pods of dolphins jumping out of the water! I can’t remember a cruise where we didn’t see dolphins, so he knows how to get them moving! I mean, he should be able to—he’s a marine biologist! Once the dolphin sightings have died down, he sails further out into the Atlantic. You can look all around you, and all you see is water. So peaceful! As he begins to head back to the dock, you have the opportunity to feed the seagulls. Bread is provided, and if you go to the back of the boat, flocks of seagulls come for the free food.

I love going on Captain Schumann’s tour because it’s a peaceful afternoon on the water paired with some excellent narration. But mostly, I love the opportunity to capture the ocean at different angles, a panoramic view of the beach at Wildwood, water skiers as the fly by, some bottlenose dolphins and ospreys, and some of the boats docked at shore. Most times, I cheat when I take these pictures. I set my camera in automatic and allow it to choose the settings for me. I don’t typically like to do this, but the dolphins and ospreys aren’t there for posing! When you only have a short window to capture something, it’s best to put the camera on auto. Plus, a rocky boat is another reason to keep that camera on auto! No adjustment of shutter speed!

If this Summer or in summers of the future you are in or near Wildwood, NJ, I recommend taking one of Captain Schumann’s tours. Here are some things to keep in mind if you do:

-Arrive 30-45 mins early so you can get a good seat on the boat. (Once he starts the tour, you can walk around, however).

-Snacks (chips, cookies, sodas) are provided once the tour begins.

-Restrooms are available.

-If you take the afternoon tour, be prepared to spend a good portion of your day at sea.

-Reservations are accepted.

For more information:

Visit: http://bigbluesightseer.com

Call: (609) 522-2919

Stop by: 4500 Park Blvd in Wildwood, New Jersey

Thanks for reading!

XO Gina

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