Whale-watching in Lake Michigan?
It seems whale watching is becoming quite an internet topic here in northern Michigan.
Nearly two-thousand people are following a facebook page called The Lake Michigan Whale Migration Station.
We spoke with several people at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, including the lakeshore's Chief of Natural Resources - who you might say is a little skeptical about whales in the lake.
Kevin Skerl says, "No, I can assure you there are no whales off the lakeshore in Lake Michigan."
Perhaps skeptical is an understatement. But at the Lake Michigan overlook on Pierce Stocking Drive, I saw plenty of people with binoculars, and they must be watching something.
Dave Babieracki says, "We were watching a couple that hiked down to the bottom of the dunes, and we're watching them struggle their way back up. And we're watching the ship out on the lake."
Asked if heâ??s seen any whales latelyâ?¦
Dave says, "No, not today. We have before, but not today."
Is anyone catching sight of a blue whale, or a humpback whale, or one of those whales with the long spikey thing on its nose?
Justin Hall says, "Whale watching? Are there Great Lakes whales?"
Kevin Skerl says, "Whales would be a salt water species, in the oceans. Lake Michigan is, of course, fresh water."
Abbey Aymes says, "No. Big fish, maybe, but not whales."
Kevin Skerl says, "I think the largest thing that you might observe swimming in the lake would be a sturgeon, but those are not frequently seen by the public. We occasionally have a dead one wash up on shore, and those are pretty large creatures, but you wouldn't mistake them for a whale, I don't think."
Skerls says that the interpreters here at the lakeshore get all kinds of questions - so it wouldn't surprise him one bit if some visitors ask about whales. And he says the important thing is that the visitors are here in the first place.
Kevin Skerl say, "Every visitor is a good visitor."
So it seems the take-away here is: if you're looking for a good place to watch whales, this isn't it.
Whales or not - the sleeping bear dunes national lakeshore is enjoying some large crowds this summer... Setting a new record for attendance this past July.