A group of boaters in New Jersey recently had a remarkable encounter with two large sea creatures – an endangered whale shark and a huge ocean sunfish. The rare sighting took place during a 24-hour tour organized by the Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center. The tour agency shared the experience on Facebook, expressing their gratitude for the encounter and describing it as a unique observation. Initially, the boaters kept their distance, but the sizable shark, estimated to be at least 30 feet long, eventually swam closer to the boat, allowing experts on board to confirm its identity. This sighting was not only a first for the Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center but also a remarkable lifer sighting for everyone onboard.
Whale sharks, the largest fish in the world and known to have existed since prehistoric times, are usually found in the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and tropical Atlantic, according to the Georgia Aquarium. With their massive filter-feeding bodies, whale sharks possess especially large mouths, up to 4 feet long, despite not using teeth for feeding. Their distinguishing feature is their unique white spots, similar to human fingerprints. The beauty and rarity of the sighting were enthusiastically acknowledged by Facebook users, who expressed awe and excitement.
Located in southern New Jersey, about 60 miles southeast of Philadelphia, Cape May is an ideal destination for whale and wildlife watching. This recent encounter with the whale shark and ocean sunfish adds to the allure and charm of the area, further enhancing the possibilities for an unforgettable experience.