Dolphin watching: A timeless OBX adventure
When we moved to the Outer Banks, we did all of the tourist things — lighthouses, museums, galleries — once. Then we settled into a routine. Rarely, when a visitor would stay with us we might venture out and repeat some of those sightseeing adventures.
The last time we went on a dolphin watch was many years ago when our nephew came to stay for week and we boarded the “jet boat” that once docked at the Manteo waterfront.
His sister is now staying with us, and we decided to do another dolphin tour, which brings our frequency to about once per decade.
We decided on Outer Banks Cruises, aboard the “Captain Johnny,” where Captain Stuart Wescott serves as host, historical commentator and comedian in addition to locating dolphins. His record in 2010 was 260 sightings on 270 trips. You get a free repeat visit for the remainder of the season if you are on one of those rare trips when dolphin is not found.Wescott is a ninth-generation Outer Banker and his tales include his own experiences living here as well as the recollections of his family.
There are three tours per day, Monday through Friday. We chose the 6:30 p.m. tour and arrived early, affording time to walk the Manteo docks, visit some waterfront shops and grab a pre-cruise libation from Poor Richard’s, which is a few steps from the “Captain Johnny’s” dockage at the end of Budleigh Street.
I’ve seen dolphins on many fishing trips with friends, including watching them surf small waves in the sounds around Morehead City, N.C. There is something different; however, about viewing this wildlife with a group of people, including tourists and children who have never laid eyes on a wild dolphin in its native habitat.
Sharing their joy and exuberance heightens the experience, and on this trip, where many baby bottlenose dolphins were located, you can literally hear that excitement on the video.
Enjoy the photos and the video, which, by the way, was shot by my 15-year old niece Alana White on a tiny Kodak point-and-shoot digital camera. I think your family will enjoy the visit as much as we did.
And now for our usual disclaimer — these are not paid advertisements, and in fact, Captain Wescott has no idea this article is being written!
Manteo waterfront docks
Ticket sales 8 a.m to 6 p.m.
Adults and teens, $25, children $15
Sunset cruise, $32 for adults.
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