Artie Raslich Photography: Blog http://www.artieraslich.com/blog en-us (C) Artie Raslich Photography araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) Wed, 14 Feb 2018 11:48:00 GMT Wed, 14 Feb 2018 11:48:00 GMT http://www.artieraslich.com/img/s/v-5/u505224301-o1007081913-50.jpg Artie Raslich Photography: Blog http://www.artieraslich.com/blog 120 117 Washed up deceased humpback on Breezy Point. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/2/washed-up-deceased-humpback-on-breezy-point I received these photos a day before this post on 2-12-18. They were sent to me by the first person on the scene Dana Filipini and all photo credit goes to Dana.

The sub-adult 30ft Humpback Whale was found on Breezy Point beach NY, the whale was washed up dead. It’s unknown how long the whale was there on the beach, but it looks like it was not their long.

Upon review of these and other photos of the stranded and deceased humpback it looks like, while this whale was alive, at some point was heavily entangled? The whale has scars over the body and the white scar/stripe on the peduncle ridge between the Dorsal and tail stock can be from rope or fishing gear netting cutting into the whale that has healed. In the photos you can’t really see too well because of the sand if there are fish trap or fishing gear scars on the tail stock. Almost all photos I take of live juvenile or Sub-adult’s we see around here have entanglement scars where the peduncle and the tail stock meet.

The scar marks on the Dorsal is another story or theory. The markings look to me like it was a shark, or an orca and I think it was an orca. We often see teeth marks or Rake Markings made from Orca’s harassing the whales when they were smaller. It’s almost always on the Pectoral fins and the flukes but I never have seen a rake mark on the dorsal fin on the NYC whales? I have seen humpbacks with missing dorsals, but they were not associated with the tell-tale orca rake makings from their teeth.

Here is my take, this Humpback whale was alive and was entangled. The fishing gear or entanglement really curbed the whale’s actions to get away or actively protect itself from an attack. Because of the entanglement Orca’s picked on the weak and harassed the whale biting the dorsal leaving the rake markings on the humpback’s dorsal. The scars on the dorsal show the wound was healing.

How the whale died is to be determined. The necropsy reports of this and the others that recently happened here on Long Island and NYC performed by the AMCS are to be reviewed by the investigation team put together by NOAA prior to release. The necropsy reports should be released in March/April when they are released there will be an update.

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/2/washed-up-deceased-humpback-on-breezy-point Tue, 13 Feb 2018 13:26:06 GMT
Oil and Water dont mix - The Risks From Offshore Oil Drilling Event http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/2/the-risks-from-offshore-oil-drilling-event Ever hear of the old saying "oil and water don't mix" well its true! And if this goes through and when (not if) there is an Oil Spill...our costal waters will be destroyed!

An event hosted by Gotham Whale, All Our Energy, Surfrider Foundation - Central Long Island Chapter, Oceana - New York, Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island, Citizens Campaign for the Environment and Atlantic Marine Conservation Society took place at the Long Beach public Library on February 7th,  2018. Six short films were shown that highlight the grassroots resistance taking place across the US, as well as stories from past oil and gas exploration – including the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.

In January 2018, the government proposed a new offshore oil drilling plan that would open up nearly 90% of all U.S. waters to offshore oil drilling, including New York. This plan threatens our coastal ecosystems, economies, and way of life putting New York's coastal communities, beaches, surf breaks, and marine ecosystems including all fishing grounds along with whale and dolphin feeding and transit areas at serious risk of catastrophic oil spills and economic decimation. If you didn’t know, America’s publicly owned waters will be turned over to the oil companies at the highest bid.

The methods used for searching for oil alone may have devastating affects on the Mammals living in those mapping areas. Read up here Will Atlantic Ocean Oil Prospecting Silence Endangered Right Whales?  

NY State is holding its own hearing on offshore oil drilling on Long Island. There will be a press event and rally before the hearing, starting at 945AM. Interested in going? Here's the information

Photos from last nights event.

 

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/2/the-risks-from-offshore-oil-drilling-event Thu, 08 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT
RIP #NYC0056 http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/1/rip-nyc0056 In early January 2018, we lost another humpback whale that we know! The whale is documented as #NYC0056 in the NYC Humpback Whale Catalog maintained by Gotham Whale. #56 washed up on the Virginia shore on 1-7-18 and the necropsy was performed by Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program, overseen by NOAA Fisheries. They estimated the whale to be a juvenile around 5 years old and 30ft in length. RIP #NYC0056!

Here is the fluke that Gotham Whale used to ID #NYC0056.

I did extensive searches via the internet and could not find one news article on it! I did however find a few photos of the necropsy that was in a private blog here. Below is a photo from that blog “Photo credit Helen Belencan” There are a few other photos so please check out their blog Helen Belencan & Gary Smith, aka HBandMe 

Look at the markings in the above photo and below photo, they are unfortunately a match. 

NOT MY PHOTO! “Photo credit Helen Belencan" Here are photos from an encounter with #NYC0056 as seen from the deck of the American Princess with Gotham Whale off Rockaway NY.

               

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/1/rip-nyc0056 Tue, 30 Jan 2018 16:52:28 GMT
Necropsy of the East Atlantic Beach - West Long Beach Humpback. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/12/necropsy-of-the-long-beach-humpback These photos are of a Necropsy - an autopsy of a Humpback Whale. They are not for the faint of heart.

 

Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) was down today doing the necropsy on the beached humpback whale in East Atlantic Beach - West Long Beach area. All hands-on deck for this one, the more hands the faster it will go and that’s really good news for these AMCS workers! This whale looked to be in good shape but its been a while since it was alive, and the smell is overwhelming to say the least!

NYS DEC was there to keep the peace (no problems had) and TOH workers was there to bury the whale’s carcass after AMCS is done with the Necropsy. The TOH DPW dug a very deep hole in the sand and when AMCS is done doing its research on the whale carcass gets buried in that deep hole on the beach.

Tons of onlookers are coming and going, News12 and all the NYC News stations were on the sidelines broadcasting from the scene.

There really is not much to say except AMCS started the necropsy, they are taking many samples and photos. All the samples get evaluated in many different ways to determine many things, but one is what we all want and need to know…How did this sub-adult female humpback whale die? Was it a ship strike? An entanglement? Did it digest Plastic? Or was it natural causes? In 2-7 months we might just find out!

I love taking photos of healthy, live, humpback whales doing their acrobatic moves here in the waters of LI and NYC aka the Western NY Bight. You can follow me to see these photos on facebook, Instagram and twitter

If you didn't know I also am the Photographer and Photo Curator of the NYC Humpback Whale Catalog for Gotham Whale and you can follow them here.

 

Email araslich@gmail.com for photo and blog usage.

 

Email araslich@gmail.com for photo and blog usage.

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/12/necropsy-of-the-long-beach-humpback Wed, 27 Dec 2017 19:00:55 GMT
Beached Whale http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/12/beached-whale  

Got a call on a humpback whale that was deceased and washed up on the shore of the barrier island of Long Beach/Atlantic Beach, Long Island N.Y.

I called in to the USCG Station in Jones Beach and Atlantic Marine Conservation Society to let them know about the whale. I arrived at the spot and saw the sad sight of the beached humpback whale. NCPD was at the scene and they backed up the fact that all authorities were contacted about the beached whale.

The Female Humpback Whale looks to be an estimated 31-foot and in somewhat good shape physically, by this I mean no big scars, open wounds that I could see. I could not see its back or top of the whale because it was on its back.

The Sea Lice has dried up and died and the barnacles looked to be drying out. Coronula diademais a species of whale barnacle only known to live on humpback whales (maybe sperm whales and finback whales also) they are the big white Barnacles on this whale. The long things hanging off the white Barnacles are another type of barnacle and they are called gooseneck barnacles.

I cleared the sand off the tail to get the fluke print as to maybe getting a match in the NYC Humpback Whale Catalog. Later I looked at the fluke shots and this humpback whales fluke is not in the NYC HWC catalog. 

Gotham Whale NCPD and AMCS will be on the scene all day, we will keep all in the loop on what is happening.

A very sad sight to see! I personally hate taking photos of deceased whales but it has to be done! R.I.P. 

Contact info araslich@gmail.com or follow me on TWITTER FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM

 

     

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/12/beached-whale Tue, 26 Dec 2017 13:56:44 GMT
Whales Playing http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/12/whales-playing November 2017. I went out the SHIP OF FOOLS and had a very cool experience with two Humpback Whales off Atlantic Beach and Rockaway.

Here is the setup, many whales out there this day. It was towards the end of the day and I am heading back to the inlet. Off shore I see a humpback doing some tail slapping and pectoral fin slapping with a few small breaches or half breaches, throwing water all around and splashing. I charge out to get some photos of this humpback and quickly I see that its two Humpbacks not one. They were very close to each other, making a ruckus mostly pectoral slapping and from the looks of it I must guess they are having fun. These whales are new to the NYC Humpback Whale Catalog, they are numbered as NYC0073 (nicknamed KLECKO) and NYC0074.

Not needed to be said but I am going to say it anyway, I always respect the whales space. I adhere to the guidelines of Whale SENSE for “commercial whale watching boats”. and See a spout watch out from NOAA. I always give the whales as much room as they need. If they come to my boat and get close, it’s on their terms. It is never forced. AND...You can follow my photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter #nycwhalephotographer 

(Photo below NYC0073 is on the right, NYC0074 is on the left.)

I see one whale NYC0073 (#73) getting very close to whale NYC0074 (#74) pectoral slapping all the way. As #73 is getting closer he gently hits #74 with his pectoral fin. #74 reacts with trying to slap #73 back and it didn’t connect. A few minutes later #73 gets #74 with its pectoral fin again and #74 tries to hit back #73 but couldn't, it was out of position once again. This goes on for a ½ hour, #73 misses a few times with its slaps and #74 might have got one slap in. They were going in big circles while this was going on. My boat was out of gear with the engine running, they knew I was there but didn’t care.

(Photo below#73 hitting #74)

#73 hits #74 again and #74 must have had it with getting hit or maybe wanted to change up the game. So, whale #74 set itself up in front and very close to whale #73, lifted its tail and slapped the water and followed through to bopped #73 on its head with its very large tale while it was under water. As Whale #73's head was underwater for the tail slap it let out a very big bubble blast! I was thinking to myself hmmm, this could go either way! I might see a whale fight, or was this funny to #74 and they are playing? Only the whales know what's going on, it’s not like I see this every day?? After the tail slap to the head #74 did get a little more aggressive towards #73 and they both chased each other in circles, it still was a slow chase, but it looked more serious now, fun or not.

(photos below #74 bopping #73 on the head)

During the chase they were getting closer and closer to my boat, pectoral fin slapping the water the whole way. It came to the point where they were getting close, too close. I was thinking on the next pass as they are circling they might hit the boat or me as they are slapping the water. I don’t want any part of this, I start to bang on the side of the boat. As I was making some noise I could clearly see they were surprised by their reactions. They heard me loud and clear and contorted their body as to not hit me or the boat. They kicked their tails, moved over 50 feet and went right back to pectoral fin slapping and the slow chase. A couple of close calls with a whale tail to the face and a pectoral slap to the body happened. This went on for some time, I was out all day, it’s time to go home and process these photos.

(photo below #74 on left #73 on the right)

On #74’s back you can see a scratch from being brushing against by the barnacles on the end of #73’s pectoral fin.

On #73’s pectoral fin you can see a few cuts from brushing against the barnacles on #74’s body

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/12/whales-playing Wed, 20 Dec 2017 16:05:10 GMT
NYC0071 Second Rescue Effort by CCS, USCG and Gotham Whale. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/12/nyc0071-second-rescue-effort-by-ccs-and-uscg December 2nd is my last whale watching for the 2017 season on the SHIP OF FOOLS, it’s not my choice but my boat needs to be out of the water on November 30th, but something

Important was happening on the 2nd so I pushed the date back a few days! The Marine Animal Entanglement Response team (MAER) from the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) was back in Long Beach this Saturday looking for NYC0071 the entangled whale. Yes, the very same whale they tried to disentangle on Sunday November 12th, 2017.

 

After the first rescue attempt Read here...Rescue effort for Humpback Whale NYC0071 from CCS and USCG off Long Beach, N.Y.) I was asked to monitor the whale because the rope that is wrapped around the top half of the jaw may have been nicked by the pole knife on the last rescue attempt by MARE and could have come off? Since that first rescue attempt, I have seen Humpback Whale NYC0071 off Long Beach and the Rockaways a few times. The rope is still wrapped around the whale, it is in the same exact entangled situation as before. I relayed this information to CCS’s MAER team and they are here for another rescue attempt with an operating window of 5 hours and a start time of 8am.

 Saturday morning, it was a very cold start to the day and the boat was covered in frost. But bright sunshine, no wind and it was forecasted to be a warm Dec 2nd day of 50 degrees. The Sea conditions were Flat, and the ocean was calm. It was one of those days where you can spot a Humpback Whale blow miles away, just perfect.

 

I asked Tim O’Connor to come out and help spot for humpback whales, we pushed off at 8am on the SHIP OF FOOLS and met up with the USCG Vessel 45706 out of Jones Beach right off ER Inlet. I said hello and told them I would run between Jones Beach Inlet (JB), East Rockaway (ER) Inlet and Ambrose Channel (AC) looking for NYC0071. As I am speaking with the USCG, I see the CCS little inflatable with the writing “Coastal Studies” a ¼ mile away. I run over, say hello to the team and tell them my plan to help, ask what channel they are working on as to monitor the action and if I find the whale I can radio the Lat’s and Longs of the location and the rescue of NYC0071 is on.

 

I start my spotting trek out of ER Inlet I run East, close to the beach all the way to the JB inlet and see nothing. We stayed at the Inlet for a good 20 minutes and see nothing. I run West from JB Inlet to Ambrose by the Pilot boat, it’s a good 18-mile run, and see nothing along the way. I have a great view of the whole channel all the way to Sandy Hook and up to Breezy, we stay for 20 minutes and not a blow. We Charge from Ambrose to the beach off Rockaway and make our way east to ER Inlet and again see nothing. WOW, I just did a 40+ mile loop and saw nothing. There is not one Humpback Whale in the area!

 

After hours of looking, I make my way back to the USCG and CCS’s MAER team in the inflatable. I tell them there’s not a Humpback Whale in the area, I am going back in. I thank both teams for trying to help the whale for the second time.

 As I am half way between home and the last spot I left the CCS team and the USCG vessel, I hear on the radio that they spotted a whale. OH MAN, I am still in the game. I turn the boat around and hammer the throttle and meet up with the rescue team. I asked where the whale was, as to not get in the way and they radio back to me it was a Minke Whale not a Humpback Whale. At this point both crews are wrapping up the rescue attempt and going back in.

 

Not all rescue attempts work. There are many things that must align to make it all work and be successful. We had all in our favor except for the fact the whale NYC0071 was not found. NYC0071 has been in this area since Nov 3rd, I guess it was time for the whale to move on. All the credit goes to the CCS MARE and the USCG for trying to help an entangled Humpback Whale. 

 

I love photographing Humpbacks and am still blown away that since 2013 Humpback Whales are here so close to my home! The number of photos I have taken of these humpbacks are impressive, I get out as much as possible. Over the years I have photographed entangled Humpbacks and Right whales here in this area. I am very thankful to be involved in the rescue attempts for both this whale NYC0071 and Reynolds the Whale.

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/12/nyc0071-second-rescue-effort-by-ccs-and-uscg Sat, 02 Dec 2017 21:14:00 GMT
Reynolds Channel Whale Event/Incident Action Plan http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/11/reynolds-channel-whale-event/incident-action-plan Reynolds Channel Whale Event/Incident Action Plan.

I need to say it was an honor and a privilege to be part of this operation, it was an incredible opportunity. I had no idea how much preparation, man hours and hard work it takes to go from start to finish on a situation like this. 

 

The start time for briefing was 6am and mission start time was 7am to 6pm.

7am all boats leave dock and confirm entering zones for survey by name and number.

Once survey is complete, confirm with survey control where you are to proceed.

Command will confirm message and give further instructions or if whale was found.

 

Mission – Find the whale via four search teams on different boats. The vessel names are “SHIP OF FOOLS” (with DEC NYS ECON PO Laczi, Paul Sieswerda director of Gotham Whale and I). “Never Enough”, “SPLASH 1” and “SPLASH 2”. When whale is found, search teams back away and the herding teams take over and heard the whale to the AB Bridge with the search teams backing up the herding teams.

 

Agencies involved - Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, Gotham Whale, NOAA, SPLASH, The Nature Conservancy, WCS, International Fund for Animal Welfare, US Coast Guard, East Rockaway Fire Dept. Fire Boat, Town of Hempstead Bay Constable, Nassau County Police Marine Bureau boats, Nassau County Police Aviation Helicopter N604PD, DEC NYS ECON Police in three boats and NC State University.

This was a very big group effort and all resources were ready to help.

 

The search team - Responsible to survey a specific area of the inner bays and Reynolds channel from AB Bridge to LIRR Bridge for Reynolds the Humpback Whale. If the whale is observed, stop survey and monitor animal from a distance. Call in, report the sighting with location name and number, and include latitude and longitude. Record animal behavior and dive duration. Indicate direction of travel and depth of water in the area. If not, text findings every 15 minutes to survey coordinator.

My detail was to survey the numbered areas on the "East Bay Crew" map below. 7-Hewlett Bay, 8-Auerbach Canal, 6-Swift creek and Ramscal Channel and 5-Broad Channel. On the SOF was DEC NYS ECON Police Office Evan Laczi, Gotham Whale director Paul Sieswerda and I.

(Photo Credit AMCS)

OFF SUBJECT and a very good fact - DEC NYS ENCON PO Evan Laczi that is on my boat for this operation was the Captain of the first vessel from Wednesdays "Operation Reynolds" to try and push "Reynolds the whale" out to the open ocean. Here is video PO Evan Laczi in action from Wednesday

Herding team – DEC NYS ECON Two boats and the NCPD. Their object Motivate the whale to continue a forward direction west through the Atlantic Beach Bridge and through the East Rockaway Inlet into the ocean.

 

Support and command - Ensure the safety of the responders, the whale and the public. Communicate with federal, state and local authorities to ensure information is shared. Work with NOAA, NYS DEC , and local support  through a Joint Information Center (JIC) to communicate information the public.

 

Mission started - 7am it was beautiful out! Not a breath of wind, nice sunrise and for this time of year somewhat warm, it’s going to be a good day! How can it not be there are a slew of people trying to help a whale get out of a bad situation.

The area I am searching I-KNOW-WELL, above and below the water. I know where I can go with my boat and where I can’t at different tide/water levels. I also could figure out the same where the whale can go and can’t go, the whale and my boat can get in and out in the same depth of water and this helps me judge where I think I should look in my area.

First area Hewlett bay, my home town of Bay Park and its where I dock my boat! I run over to the NCPD Marine Bureau Marina Cove. The humpback was in the cove on Monday it might go back? The whale is taking breaths every 5 minutes, so you need to go to an area and watch for a blow for at least 10 minutes. This went on all day, running through my survey areas back and forth, in and out of channels and back bays looking for a lost whale called Reynolds.

Around 900am I see Nassau County Police Helicopter N604PD flying around and I hear on the radio they are locating whales from the air that are out in the ocean. HELO N604PD is directing the AMSC Boat to those whales. The AMSC boat get to the whale, takes a photo of them and then makes sure the whales they are with is or isn’t Reynolds the Whale. We can see the helicopters location and hear the communication on the radio. No matches, the operation is still on!

While this is going on, Gotham Whale has its own support team. On land we have Tim O’Connor and Trish Minogue Collins at the AB Bridge giving us details of what’s happening there. Karen Dinan and others are hitting us up on Facebook with updates and whale happenings that are going on out in the ocean. Catherine Granton from Gotham Whale is working social media informing us of anything new on that front. Countless others reaching out supporting us via all social media outlets on helping Reynolds the whale, Thanks to all who did!  

Its 1030am the weather has gone downhill, wind has picking up the bay is getting choppy, the clouds moved and its getting cold! Got a text from control, all teams are standing down it appears the whale is not in the area! Mission is called off at 11am, time to make it back to the dock. 

 

Let’s hope the Humpback Whale called Reynolds is out to Sea and never comes back! The last known report of “Reynolds the Whale” was reported by Tim O’Connor and I yesterday off Magnolia Pier in Long Beach and let’s hope it stays that way! BUT…Just in case!! Gotham Whale and others will continue to monitor the area and hope we have nothing to report!

 

UPDATE - December 19th 2017. Reynolds the whale has not been seen in the back bays and waterways of Western Nassau County, nor since the rescue attempt, in the ocean. It is with 100% confidence i can say this whale high tailed it out of this area and that's a happy ending! 

 

No impactful photos because we didn’t find the whale and it’s all ok by me!

 

On a side note -While we were out we did see a few seals and one was very close to the boat.

 

 

No Fluke for the Reynolds the whale but here are the Dorsals. Please take photos of Humpbacks seen off the beach or boats in the LI/NYC/NNJ area and send them to Paul Seiswerda at paul@gothamwhale.org. Paul will reply with the exact directions on what he needs for the sighting...there's a beer in it for you. NO REALLY! 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/11/reynolds-channel-whale-event/incident-action-plan Sat, 18 Nov 2017 23:08:21 GMT
Reynolds the Humpback Whale situation. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/11/reynolds-the-humpback-whale-situation Reynolds the Humpback Whale situation.  

The first effort by the DEC was valiant and I appreciate that an effort was at least exercised. It failed because it was one boat, lacking backup support due to it being a “Monitoring Operation”. There needs to be monitoring time, it’s been more than 10 days, everyone knows where we are at. It’s now “time to take action”

 

Condition

I searched every photo from the past months whale watches taken on the SHIP OF FOOLS and The American Princess, I have not one photo of this humpback in the ocean…NOT ONE??? I need to look again, I have to have one.

The whale is a Humpback Whale. A Juvenile, approximately 32ft-37ft long, they hide their size and weight well. 

I saw pictures of the whale feeding on Facebook, can’t 100% confirm if it is “Reynolds the Whale” lunge feeding inside Reynolds channel, but this is promising. There’s food around for him to eat if he wants.

The whale’s back is scratched up due to getting caught under the docks in Mill River on Wednesday. I have seen other whales in the ocean in so much worse conditions and have seen them year after year since their accidents. I am not down playing its condition I do think it’s still in good shape.

Its breathing is at a 4-5-minute blow pattern. I have only heard it trumpet slightly by the AB Bridge and in Mill River. It may have calmed down, but it could still be in a panic mode or not?

 

My take and observations on helping Reynolds

The weather and this big blow is keeping some boats from going in and out of the AB Bridge area, that’s real good!

An official agency needs to “Stand on” the whale for the safety of both the whales and boaters.

That whale is afraid to go “UNDER” the AB Bridge. I can see it in its actions. Opening the center of the “Draw Bridge” span might just let the whale move out on its own? I honestly think that with the center span of the draw bridge open the whale will see or sense that it’s not being “covered” and make a charge to safety.

Agencies need to corral the whale (like the DEC, Scott and I did) or wait for the perfect timing and All official boats need push the whale out in unison.

There needs to an official boat on both the West and the East side of the AB Bridge stopping boat traffic or regulating speed and direction.

Coordinating this with times of outgoing tide would be best.

Maybe songs of Atlantic Humpback Whales being played on the west side of the bridge could help lure the whale towards the sound. YES, It sounds 100% ridiculous, but it can’t hurt?

 

Obstacles

The LIRR bridge in LB is so much smaller and there is really one small opening to get through, I saw the whale right by it on Wednesday, it didn’t even investigate the option of going under or through. If it made it to the east side of the LIRR Bridge, there is a lot of shallow water and less of a channel to navigate and TWO other bridges to get under.

Reynolds joining channels. There are flats off Reynolds channel. The entrances to Browser bay and Hewlett Bay via Broad Channel and Woodsburgh Channel Park are very shallow in spots. Bannister is deep and its already been inside along with Hog Island, East Rockaway Channels and Mill River, HI and ER Channels Deep, Mill River not so much.  

 

This is not a Moriches Whale situation. If the whale does get stranded the tide cycles here can bring in water deep enough (4-5+feet) for the Humpback to maneuver back out of that area unlike the Moriches situation. BUT if nothing is done I really think this whale will end up like the Moriches Whale.

Look at chart to see the areas and its depths.  

Charts of the area here http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/12352_02.shtml

 

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/11/reynolds-the-humpback-whale-situation Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:19:41 GMT
"Operation Reynolds" Trying to help save Reynolds the Humpback In Reynolds Channel http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/11/-operation-reynolds-trying-to-help-save-a-humpback-in-reynolds-channel I am no whale expert, I have more knowledge than some and much less knowledge than others. I also am not a writer, read on...you have been warned. Here is my facebook, twitter and Instagram if you want to follow

Since last week I have been getting reports and seeing mentions of a Humpback in Reynolds channel. Reynold’s channel is a very wide and deep channel, I use it daily to get to East Rockaway Inlet and out to sea to photograph whales. I have navigated it all my life and I have never heard of a humpback being in the channel. I stayed away from posting or bringing attention to the fact that there is a Humpback Whale in Reynolds channel, but when NOAA acknowledges this whale via social media, the word is out. This whale looks to be new to the NYC/LI area, it was given a number NYC0072 and a name “Reynolds” I thought Reynold’s would pop out under the Ab Bridge and out into ER inlet and be on its way by now, not the case!

When an event happens with a humpback I always call the USCG, inform them of my name, the situation, my boat name and phone number, then I call Gotham Whales director Paul sieswerda and depending on the situation with the whale and its condition I contact the correct organization. During the CCS and USCG entangled whale rescue attempt on Sunday Nov 9th I thought I saw the Reynolds Whale in ER Inlet just east of the AB bridge. I didn’t take photos due to being in route to NYC0071’s event. When the rescue was going on, off Long Beach I was get phone calls on the Reynolds whale. I was with the USCG and they along with the NCPD were informing me of the updates with it.

Its sunset on Tuesday, I get a call from a friend Jay. Jay says that there a whale under his boat in his marina in Mill River in East Rockaway! NO WAY! I hammer the throttle and this is where I love owning a Formula Boat, they are fast and get there quickly. On the way I radioed the USCG and called GW.

I get to the location of where Reynolds is, its 5ish and dark…daylight savings SUCKS!!!! I scream over to the dock where Jay is at “where is the whale” They scream back its coming towards you and it’s been here for a while. Ahhh, this is not good. They were right, the whale is heading right at the boat. My boat is loud, Reynolds passes the boat and turns for the opening to ER Channel, this is good! With the help of the direction from Jay and people on the shore we push the whale out with my boat, respectfully and not endangering the whale. A big thank you to Jay Zeilberger for the call! Here is a link to Jay's video this is how Reynolds scraped up its back!

I immediately call Paul sieswerda giving him a play by play and then call the director of Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMSEAS) on his cell. I get Rob on the phone and he is down in DC with the AMSFC Menhaden vote. Now, I was invited down to DC for this menhaden vote by Pew Trust to represent GW, I passed on the opportunity. I must stay here and document whales in NY and I am glad I did! Off subject, I digress… In conversation I give Rob the Lat’s and Longs on Reynolds the whale’s location. Rob informs me of the operation details for tomorrow and I go home slowly.

 

It’s noonish on Wednesday and meet up with AMSEA on a TOHBC boat along with Scott McInnis on his boat and his passenger Mike Busch is manning a camera for documentation. That whale pretty much stayed in the same spot I left him the night before, again its deep water with a very wide channel. Together the three boats pushed the humpback from East Rockaway channel into Reynolds, operation “Save Reynolds” is in motion! When we arrived at Reynold channel (see why its name is Reynolds) we met up with the New York State's Environmental Conservation Police Officers (DEC). For operation “Save Reynolds) I ran in front of the whale (giving up a position to take photos and being the “bad guy”) to informing boaters to slow down. I hailed captains on CH68, worked with the air horn of my boat and at times yelling…FYI I am extremely loud! As always, most captains comply and for those that didn’t when they saw the TOHBC and the DEC and slowed down. At about 230 the TOHBC left the scene with AMSEA on board.

The DEC, Scott and I pushed the whale all the way to the Atlantic Bridge and this is when it got a little crazy! High tide at the bridge was 436pm, we arrived at the bridge around 3pm. There are some shallows in that area especially at Bannister Creek entrance which is adjacent to the AB Bridge and Nassau Parkway. Reynolds the whale was right at the bridge on the north span and looking to get out to the ER Inlet side (west) of the bridge but keeps on the east side (Reynolds channel side). It’s getting nervous and for the first time lets out a trumpeting sound and in a mad dash the whale turns around almost hitting Scotts boat. The whale is touching bottom and powers its way out of the shoal which is like 2 feet deep and gets to deep water giving it a rest. Reynolds now goes to the other side of the channel running aground again this time I get worried for the safety of this whale but quickly again powers out. 

Reynolds is now in Bannister Creek, it’s a deep channel all the way in but its sides are shallow. The whale takes a rest and stays in the channel with 20ft of water under him. The whale takes a break, gets it together and comes back out to Reynolds. At that time there are a few more boats and the whale started heading west back into Reynold channel. Seeing this, I opted out of operation “Save Reynolds”. At 330pm I left the whale and went out to see if I could find NYC0071 the entangled whale from Sunday. I saw a few whales, but none are NYC0071, so I went back in to see Reynolds.

Its 430pm, all boats are gone except for the DEC and I move back into “save Reynolds” mode. Soon the USCG shows up, I quickly point out the whale is directly in front of them in the main span of the AB Bridge, just feet from freedom! The USCG charges at the whale trying to scare it through. There is a boat on the other side coming in and the USCG must back down, it’s a busy inlet.

The USCG was there for 20 minutes or so and they bolted from the scene, leaving the DEC and I to man the operation at the bridge.

The Whale was pacing back and forth going from shore to shore on the east side of the bridge. Peaking its head, it almost every span of the bridge. Maybe get its nerve up to go under and out to the relative safety of ER Inlet and then the Ocean! The only way I can explain what this looks like is have you ever seen an animal, like a dog, that’s so afraid to go down stairs! It starts to pace back and forth and freaks out a little, that’s what going on here. I can clearly see this is what is happening, and I think the DEC captain see this as well. The DEC boat is west of the bridge in Reynolds Channel, the whale is between the DEC boat and the bridge. The Captain (I am guessing and paraphrasing) says FUCK IT, NOWS THE TIME! He starts making moves, big moves with his boat! And the action really starts to happen.

The DEC is making calculated moves with his boat to prod or nudge Reynolds the whale to freedom. Doing maneuvers with the boat that are helping to get this whale moving and it is working, its moving. The whale is trying to get out but its scared and still can’t make the decision to charge out under one of the spans! This goes on for some time and for a small moment of time we all believed the whale make it to the other side. That inclination was short lived, we saw the whales blow on the west side, nothing has changed this whale is being held captive inside Reynolds.

The video below is of the DEC trying to move the whale out under the bridge after hours of waiting and watching the whale, this happens! I am on the phone having a conversation with Paul sieswerda director of Gotham Whale, Paul is the other voice in the video. It was exciting and you can hear it in my voice, I was thinking this whale is moving out to sea as I was on the phone and that didn't happen!

As of 530pm on Thursday Nov 16th "Reynolds the whale" is still in on the wrong side of the Atlantic Beach Bridge! IT IS STILL IN DANGER!

I have my ideas on helping Reynolds the whale, so does everyone else! It’s easy to sit back and point fingers during and after the fact and bring up past situation of rescues and local stranding. Here is the fact - Something still needs to happen if the whale can’t get out. What was learned from the Moriches whales death? A “real” concerted effort from law enforcement and Whale organizations that can help...need to help the whale. Example the USCG, DEC, NYS Park police, TOHBC, Long Beach Marine Police, NCPD Marine and Aviation, LBFD, ABFD, SPLASH and add here ______ any agency you want that’s missing. Have one organization coordinate maneuvers on what needs to be done to help the whale. Keep boaters away from the whale as not to interfere with the rescue effort. Open that main span of the bridge so that whale can see the opening (see sunlight not a shadow). Get the whale to the right position in the center span while its open and make that whale move out with the government boats. sounds like a long shot, not really it almost happened about 5 times when I was with the whale, what was missing was a fleet of helpers and the center was closed! That's my take... 

Photos and video copyrighted and owned by Artie Raslich Photography. They are not posted any other place but here, think twice before you lift them. 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/11/-operation-reynolds-trying-to-help-save-a-humpback-in-reynolds-channel Thu, 16 Nov 2017 23:21:55 GMT
Rescue effort for Humpback Whale NYC0071 from CCS and USCG off Long Beach, NY. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/11/rescue-effort-for-humpback-whale-nyc0071-from-ccs-and-uscg-off-long-beach-ny On Sunday November 12th, 2017, the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team (MAER) from the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) was off the Long Island Coast, specifically Lido West and Long Beach this weekend and here’s why.

I was out on the SHIP OF FOOLS November 3rd and met up with a Humpback Whale. I got a great fluke shot, looked at it on the camera, it didn’t look familiar. Being the curator of the NYC Humpback Whale Catalog for Gotham Whale, I have all the fluke photos. I looked through them and no match. This is a new whale, it is now numbered NYC0071 and here are the Fluke and Dorsals right and left.

 

I got home and am looking at all the photos in detail on the computer, I noticed that NYC0071 was entangled in fishing gear! Immediately I call the CCS MARE Director Scott Landry and Paul Sieswerda Director of Gotham Whale, I described NYC0071’s condition and sent over pictures. CCS then informs “ALL” who needs to know about the entanglement, everything is cover with that. He also asks if I could not involve the press and keep this as quiet as I can, I obliged.

 

NYC0071’s condition - Good news for NYC0071 is that its big and fat! It is lunge feeding, breaching, its tail is free, and its pectoral fins look to be clear. It is doing everything a normal humpback would do. Bad news for NYC0071 is that the fishing gear is wrapped at least once around its Rostrum (roof of its mouth upper jaw) across the blow hole and is deep in its mouth by the hinge of its jaw. It’s not trailing much rope or netting. This whale looks to be entangled for some time because there are healed rope scars on its rostrum and jaw.

From NOV 3rd to Nov 11th I went looking for NYC0071, found the whale and update CCS and GW on the condition via email and phone. On Thursday November 9th I got a call that the CCS team was coming down to help NYC0071 get free of its fishing gear and should be here by Sunday, November 12th and will be pushing off the dock in the morning around 7am.

Its Sunday, November 12th, and CCS MARE is here!! The CCS MAER team is in an inflatable boat with a 20hp engine. On the MAER inflatable are Scott Landry manning the motor and Bob Lynch in the front manning the pole with the knife and a grappling hook attached to an Anchor Buoy. The USCG and I running coverage from passing boats, on lookout for the whale and directing the CCS MAER team to the location of NYC0071. On the USCG Vessel are the USCG members along with Maria Harvey of CCS MAER Team, I am solo on the SHIP OF FOOLS documenting the day.

The ocean conditions were perfect, waves 0ft-1ft, glassy and no wind. It was too perfect! There were so many boats out fishing, like…500 boats from Jones Beach to East Rockaway inlet and all were fishing for Striped bass. Where the bunker is, the Bass, the Whales and the fisherman are. NYC0071 was right in the mix of the fishing boats and as you know not all people have common sense. And that’s why the USCG and I were there for, to block the few from driving over NYC0071 or getting in the way of the rescue effort of NYC0071.

Quickly the rescue teams found NYC0071 and CCS went to work trying to help cut the rope off the whale. The inflatable was close, very close all-day long. There were two plans of attack to get this whale free. One was the knife on the pole tactic and that was what they were doing most of the day. The other was the grapple with an anchor buoy, where the grapple is thrown and hooks onto the dragging fishing gear. It tires the whale out, so they can get close and might help to loosen the gear and disentangle the whale.

Hours went by with many attempts to catch the rope on top of NYC0071. All the while the whale traversed in and out of fishing boats lunge feeding along the way. Back and forth many times from the shallows on the beach to 35 feet on the outside and East to West from between Long Beach and Lido West.  

   

At 3:45pm NYC0071 slipped out of sight, this time for a good amount of time. I charged to the west looking and locating 4 other whales, the USCG doing the same to the east. The inflatable went to the beach to see if NYC0071 was there. NYC0071 ended up giving all of us the slip!

The sun was setting, and due to the unfavorable weather forecast for our area the CCS MAER team went home…The rescue effort for NYC0071 has ended. On one of the last attempts Bob did catch the rope with the knife either partially cutting or fully cutting one of the ropes. This is very good news because the rope may now have less tensile strength and break sometime in the future or the rope is cut.

Thank you for what you do, it was an incredible attempt and effort by the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team from the Center for Coastal Studies and the United States Coast Guard on NYC0071!!!

You want to help whales out here in NYC and Long Island? If you are out in the waters off NYC and Long Island or on the beach and see a Whale, take a picture and send it in. Help Gotham Whale out with their WANTED PROGRAM.  It may not seem to be a big deal but the information really helps us out AND there's a beer in it for you! Read here Gotham Whale Wanted Program

Check out my Instagram page at NYC WHALE PHOTGRAPHER Facebook at Artie Raslich or on Twitter at nycwhalephotographer 

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/11/rescue-effort-for-humpback-whale-nyc0071-from-ccs-and-uscg-off-long-beach-ny Mon, 13 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT
Dolphins at sunset and 2 Fin Back Whales. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/11/dolphins-at-sunset-and-2-fin-back-whales I got home a little late to go out on a Whale Watch but with just 30 days left in my whale watching season, everyday counts, I must go out. I was on the boat ready to push off and a friend Andrea walks over. I said, jump on, let’s go on a whale watch and then there were two!

The conditions looked good on the reports 1-2 ocean swell light winds. WRONG! It was 2-3ft and building in 2-3 second chop. The wind was out of the east and it was picking up and that’s sucks! It’s not a good sign when you’re heading out of the inlet and parade of boats are heading in!

We were 5 minutes out of the inlet and I turn to Andrea and said did you that, what the hell was that. A second later a blow, A VERY BIG BLOW! We have found the whales but that’s not a humpback’s blow. The blow is way too big, like 30 feet tall and skinny and it was pure white? It looked like there were two whales and between blows there was some distance. So, they were moving fast and I have seen this before a few times. Once in Montauk on the CRESLI Whale Watch and in NYC waters on the SHIP OF FOOLS this year. I am very confident it was two Fin Whales off Rockaway. And, that’s the second time this season.

We spent a good amount trying to locate the whales after seeing a bunch of blows, no go, those whales are gone which makes me believe even more that they were 100% Fin Back Whales!

The sun was getting low, I went and located some Dolphins. I keep saying, this has been the best year for Inshore Bottlenose Dolphins in this area! Came upon a pod of 8 Dolphins, they were unafraid of the boat and at times they were 5 feet from the boat. This pod had a few adult dolphins with very young claves and were very playful. The sun just set, and it was getting dark quick, we watched the dolphins circle the boat and when the coast was clear, we went in.

A good day, a nice sunset 12-15 dolphin and 1-2 Finback whales (no photos of the Fin’s) 

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/11/dolphins-at-sunset-and-2-fin-back-whales Thu, 02 Nov 2017 02:03:12 GMT
An early morning family whale watch on the SHIP OF FOOLS. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/10/an-early-morning-family-whale-watch-on-the-ship-of-fools Sunday, October 22nd my sisters wanted to do a whale watch and what a perfect day for it, bright sunshine, 75 degrees, very light winds and ocean conditions were flat and glassy.

Went out of ER inlet and we got on a whale quick. It was a lazy whale, going at its own speed and passing on some serious bunker pods, this whale was in sleep mode or it must have just eaten. I gave it some room as we ate our breakfast.

Time went by, breakfast was eaten and the whale we had our eyes on started to wake up, getting more active by the minute. When it did its first lunge feeding, it was game on.

We were in the middle of a large bunker pod, I see the whale turned towards the boat. I said, OK…don’t freak out BUT this whale will get close. I can’t move the boat, we need to stay where we are and let this whale do its thing. The whale was under the water on the left side of the boat 5 feet away. The Bunker were nervous, in a boil and jumping like crazy! I was expecting a giant 45ft whale to blast out of the water doing a lunge feeding right then and there but it didn’t happen? I laughed and said, this whale is directly under the boat he should come up on the right! AND BOOM! The Bunker boil up and out trying to get away from the whales mouth. The 45ft whale lunges out of the water, mouth wide open throwing bunker and water everywhere! Wow that was close, so close I couldn’t get the shot! The whale moved away and did another Lunge feeding 15 ft. from the boat, this one I got the shot of.

  We followed the whale as it sporadically did some awesome lunge feedings for us. The whale slowed down, and Patti and Judy wanted to see some dolphins, so we left and looked-for dolphins.

We went onto the beach and met up with about 30 Inshore Bottlenose Dolphins, they were great to see but they were not really interested in us,  they moved away quickly. I did hear on the radio that there was a breaching whale in the area so we left the dolphins to find that breaching whale.

Not even minutes away from the dolphins on the beach we spot a whale in transit. This is not the breaching whale but another humpback, yeah we have lots of Humpbacks around. 

The whale we just met up with kept fluking and showing us its tale. I got a few good shots and looked at the photos, I didn’t know this whale. Now, this is good, I have a whale I am not familiar with right in front of me and its showing its fluke. We followed the humpback respectfully, it was in motion and not feeding. In following the whale, it brought us right to the inlet, but I didn’t not get a perfect fluke shot. Still following the whale, it dove and shown us its full fluke and I grabbed a photo. I looked at the fluke on the camera and it’s a good one, and now we can leave this whale and go in. This fluke will go into the NYC Humpback Whale Catalog as #NYC0069, the newest addition.

As I turn to say let’s go, I see we have many dolphins on the beach right in front of us and ask do you guys want to go see them? They said yes, and we met up with the dolphins!

This was one of the most awesome interaction of Inshore Bottlenose Dolphins I have personally ever had!! In the pod were very playful calves, juvenile and adults. They were not sketchy at all and were interested in the boat and came in close. There was jumping and roughhousing, and I shot one of my favorite dolphin photos to date. They stayed right next to us having a great time playing for a good 10 minutes. It was time to go, we said our goodbyes and left the area to go back home.

Today was a very successful whale watch! 100+ Dolphins and 3 Humpbacks seen. The first Humpback was NYC0040, the second was a newly  numbered whale NYC0069, the third whale we just saw its blows.

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/10/an-early-morning-family-whale-watch-on-the-ship-of-fools Sun, 22 Oct 2017 11:08:00 GMT
5 Humpbacks and 70 Dolphin http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/10/5-humpbacks-and-70-dolphin Some of the best days I have had photographing Humpbacks here in the Western NY Bight  as Gotham Whales photographer have been on those days where its dark, grey and foggy. So, when conditions get like this I get my gear ready for a good day.

Saturday, October 14th going out on the Humpback Whale and Dolphin Adventure on the American Princess. The ocean was 3-6ft, very light winds with cloudy dark conditions and some fog at the start and as the day went on it lightened up towards the end. We had a nice crowd on the AP along with Artie Kopelman the director of CRESLI. I always learn something new about humpbacks when Artie K's around so he is always a welcome sight. Last time I saw Artie it was on his incredible "CRESLI Great South Channel trip". I was thinking to myself this trip better be a good one!

The run started off fast with 6-8 Inshore Bottlenose Dolphins as soon as we got into the Atlantic Ocean. Looked to be a few adults with calves. They were very close to the boat moving slowly, we stayed with them for 10 minutes or so and moved on looking for whales. In transit to find whales there were a few more Dolphins here and there but again were looking for the humpbacks, we need to see humpbacks!

Half an hour later we came upon our first humpback that just did a lunge feeding way off. We got closer, I scream “10 O’CLOCK” as the humpback blasted out of the water with a backwards breach and then another. WOW the sound of the back of the whale slapping on the water was so loud and the splash was gigantic. I turned to Artie Kopelman and said laughingly wow that was shockingly loud, that’s gotta hurt! He laughed and said we will never know!

The whale settled down and went into mellow mode with blows and dives so we focused on finding other whales and moved on.

On a whale watching boat the direction of where the whale is spotted gets called out as a time, like the numbers on a clock. Think about the boat being a clock, the Bow is always 12 o'clock, Starboard side is 3 o'clock, Stern is 6 o'clock, Port is 9 o'clock and any time or location in-between can be called. When a time is called out "HUMPBACK 6 O'CLOCK" the whale is at the back of the boat. It aint perfect, and it gets confusing at times but it works!

Off in the distance we saw another whale breach at 10 o’clock! (that’s #2), Seconds after that someone screams "3 O'CLOCK A HUMPBACK!" (that’s #3), seconds after that "6 O"CLOCK ANOTHER HUMPBACK" (that’s #4) We were surrounded by humpbacks, literally! Are you kidding me, four freaking Humpbacks!

Captain's Tom and Frank chose to stay with the humpback that was closest, followed it for a while and we can still see the other whales that we left behind, some are breaching others are lunge feeding. Its real hard to keep up with all these whales around the boat, yes, it’s a good problem to have.

The whale we respectfully started to follow met up with one of the other humpbacks we were watching earlier. The two were getting closer, they met up, were side by side for like a minute and then both went in totally different direction. One Humpback went west the other humpback we followed went east.

The area the whale was traveling to had a large amount of bunker in closely scattered bait balls, snapping away on the surface of the water. We all knew this whale was going to take advantage of the bait balls.

He drove through feeding on a few bait balls of bunker under the water, the bunker reacted by scattering up and out creating what's called a "Boil". The humpback, still not taking a breath after the last two underwater feedings the humpback finished off with a very good lunge feed. While that lunge feeding was ending I looked to my right and screamed “2 O’CLOCK” (that's #5)...YES, we have a fifth whale!

Throughout the day there were many dolphins in and around the whales. Most of the time they were interacting with the whales which is very cool to see.

It was time to go and we were a good 45 minutes away from Riis Landing. I know we are going to meet up with the one whale that went west. 20 minutes into the ride back and we see the humpback moving west, get a shot, look at it and its NYC0061 aka “New Jersey”. I know this because unfortunately NJ was hit by a boat about a few weeks ago and the markings of that collision are on its back.

Great day on the AP, 5 humpback whales and 70 Dolphin.

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/10/5-humpbacks-and-70-dolphin Sun, 15 Oct 2017 02:56:14 GMT
Common and Bottlenose along with #NYC0058 http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/10/common-and-bottlenose-along-with-nyc0058 I love bringing people in on one of the best kept secrets of NYC - the fact that there is an actual real deal 95 foot Whale Watching boat in NYC! The boat is called the American Princess and it departs with Gotham Whale its research arm from Riis Landing, Queens. I cant stress this enough...get on that boat and see this stuff for yourself. You will not be disappointed, even if you do not see a whale or a dolphin, the four hour ride alone is worth the price of fare charged! Now back to the blog...

Good day out on the American Princess with Gotham Whale on 10-08-2017.  SW winds 15-20+ mph, seas 3 to 6ft, mostly cloudy and very light drizzle here and there. What is great about where the American Princess goes out of (lower NY harbor and the entrance to the NY Bight) there is almost always a place to hide from the waves to get a Whale Watch in!

The AP had a good crowd for the day along with a large BBC camera crew. BBC are in town for a few weeks doing a big budget documentary/show on Humpback Whales of NYC due out in 2018. They were on the AP getting some shots of the NYC whale watching outfit, their passengers and crew. I was going to pass on today’s whale watch but due to certain circumstances I had to represent GW to the BBC. Not a problem, I love speaking with cameraman and photographers, it’s always easy conversations. This was surprising, they said what started them on this project and journey to shoot this show on NYC Humpbacks were my humpback whale images. One image that stood out, the Humpback Whale known as “Jerry” doing a spy hop in front of the Empire State Building. Wow, that’s a pretty cool thing to hear!

We came upon a large pod of inshore bottlenose dolphins that were especially lively and rowdy, they were going nuts! They were 300 feet or so from the boat and they were closing in on us, which is not the norm. The ocean conditions were perfect for watching dolphins riding ocean swells, on occasion there were 6ft rollers. If there was a day to witness and photograph this happening, today is the day!

Immediately into the meeting a lone large dolphin quickly swam right up to the bow of the boat and swam sideways, gave us a look and sped away. The back was dark grey, the side was colored light grey and the belly is white. I immediately screamed “OH MAN! NO WAY, FREAKING COMMON DOLPHIN” The last we saw Common Dolphin were on 2014-10-09 almost three years to the day! Here are the photos from a few encounters from that time.

WOW this is great news, the Common Dolphin are so much fun to see, they always put on a great show and love to be around the whale watching boat! Today the commons were mixed in with the Bottlenose and they were riding the breaking waves in the channel.

As we were watching them do their thing, a humpback met up with us, a very mellow humpback. There was bait in the water so we thought we might get some lunge feedings for BBC’s show, but it didn’t happen. A few blows and a slow dive give away what whale it was with a short fluke shot, #NYC0058. A humpback that’s been in the area for like 3 weeks now.

Time was up in the Whale and dolphin watch so we left #NYC0058, the common and bottlenose dolphins and another successful whale and dolphin watch in the shadows of NYC skyline. I cant say this enough if you haven't been aboard the only NYC Whale watching boat called the American Princess you need to book a trip quickly here >>> American Princess

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/10/common-and-bottlenose-along-with-nyc0058 Sun, 08 Oct 2017 22:26:00 GMT
#NYC0060, 80-100 Dolphins and Gotham Whale researchers out on the water. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/-nyc0060-80-100-dolphins-and-gotham-whale-researchers-out-on-the-water A great day on the American Princess with Gotham Whale!

Capt. Tom was at the helm of the American Princess. For Gotham Whale it was Merryl Kafka, Director of Education and onboard Naturalist on the microphone. Yours truly as spotter, photographer and Curator of the Humpback Whale Catalogue along with volunteer Celia Ackerman.

Perfect sea conditions out on the Western NY Bight, even with the 3ft-5ft, long duration, waning ocean swell from Hurricane Maria.

We charged out of Breezy Jetty and quickly met up with 80-100 Dolphins, they were everywhere you looked. At times the dolphins were feet from the boat, the closest I have seen all year. The Dolphins were spread out in every direction from 10 feet to 300+ feet away. As with days in the past there was a mix of dolphins ranging from baby dolphins (calves) to sub adults to mature dolphins. They were playful and “may-have-been-feeding” but can’t confirm.

As we were watching the dolphins a big blow gave away that there was a humpback in the mix.

Before I go any further, you need to know that not all humpback encounters are filled with unbelievable happenings like breaches, lunge feedings, tail throws, pectoral slaps, chin slaps, tail slaps and amazing stuff like that! Sometimes the whale just ate, it might be sleeping, it might be in a bad mood or having a bad day, I don’t know I’m not a humpback but they can’t always be on. This is what makes every humpback encounter different, it could be epic or a nonevent. BUT the bottom line, NYC has humpbacks and they are within sight of the NYC skyline. Seeing a humpback in NYC its always special But, I…digress.

This Humpback we just met up with was so erratic in its travels…it’s here one minute, there the next. When you think it’s to the right, it’s on the left. If you think it’s in the front, it’s in the back and so on. It also stayed down a long time on dives, 10 minutes at a time but 15 minutes for one dive and that’s crazy long. Most humpbacks here in NYC are down for 2-5 minutes. Because of this humpbacks behavior, it was clear (to me) without even seeing its fluke it was #NYC0060 AKA K-CUP. Why? Because K-CUP is the sketchiest humpback whale I have encountered in all the encounters I have had with humpbacks. Eventually, this humpback did show us it fluke, on its left side of its fluke was a “Capital K” confirming that this humpback is indeed #NYC0060 AKA K-CUP!

We lost sight of K-CUP, which happens. NYC0060went on its way and so did we.

Now the good news doesn’t stop there, while on the American Princess we ran into other members of Gotham Whale today that were on a private boat performing important acoustic research on Atlantic Menhaden in NYC.

For two weeks Gotham Whale is carrying out this study compiling data collected by members of Gotham Whale. I won’t get to deep into the details but it’s very interesting and you can read about it when the research paper is published. On this day, the boat (in pictures below) was filled with members of Gotham Whale’s advisory board. Advisors Edmund Gerstein, Professor of Marine Biology -Acoustic Scientist, Florida Atlantic University. John Huntington Professor, Entertainment Technology at NY City College of Technology. Along with David Rosenthal – Fisheries Biologist, NOAA.

Oh, it doesn’t stop there! Today Paul Sieswerda, Founder and President of Gotham Whale missed both the American Princess and the research vessel to represented Gotham Whale in a meeting on sharing our data with a few “like” but bigger and well backed agencies. Valuable Information we have been collecting here in the Western NY Bight since 2009 with Seals and consistently with Humpback Whales, Dolphins and Seals since 2011. Paul will bring everyone up to speed on that, when the time I right.

Again, today was a great day, for the many reasons stated.

 

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/-nyc0060-80-100-dolphins-and-gotham-whale-researchers-out-on-the-water Sat, 30 Sep 2017 01:56:42 GMT
Pernod-Ricard's Dolphin Adventure on The American Princess with the ABSOLUT. brand http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/pernod-ricards-dolphin-adventure-on-the-american-princess-with-the-absolut-brand Thanks to William Doyle​ and Lowell Supran from Pernod-Ricard, representing the ABSOLUT. brand distributed by Southern Wine and Spirits, for chartering the American Princess Cruises​ for a Whale and Dolphin adventure. It was great to see some old friends and try some new ABSOLUT. products.
No whales today, the Atlantic Menhaden aka Bunker were hard to find but we did met up with about a 100 Inshore Bottlenose Dolphin and they did give us a show! They were all over our large boat wake and some came close to the boat. The sizes and body color of these Dolphins ranged from very light to dark and in the pods were very small Baby dolphins, or calves, the whole pod was very playful. As Inshore Bottlenose Dolphin encounters go, this was probably the best all year!
Thanks for the invite ABSOLUT.

Cheers...

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/pernod-ricards-dolphin-adventure-on-the-american-princess-with-the-absolut-brand Tue, 26 Sep 2017 11:17:00 GMT
Seasickness is preventable. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/seasickness-is-preventable SEASICKNESS!!

Do not ruin your and your parties Whale Watching adventure by being Seasick! It can happen to anyone in any type of seas from flat to raging and it is preventable. People who are prone to motion sickness in cars, airplanes, or carnival rides may also be more susceptible to seasickness. However, the motion on different ships affects people differently. Just because you get seasick in a small boat does not mean you will have problems on a larger boat or ship.

Here is a list of "Doctor Recommended" name brand remedies that work! Almost all are not available on Whale Watching boats so be prepared and check your local drug store, health store or online weeks before your trip or buy and be seasickness ready.  

BONINE: It’s said this is the best OTC remedy.

DRAMAMINE: “stick with it if it works” but beware it really makes people drowsy.

SEABAND: Acupressure - They work and are reusable.

MOTIONEAZE: An herbal remedy AND from what I have read it is the only one that will help “AFTER” you have already become sea sick but it's a 50/50 shot.

GINGER: Ginger settles your stomach quickly! Gin-Gins candy, Ginger Beer, Ginger Ale, Crystalized Ginger, Ginger Tea or Ginger pills.

PEPPERMINT and LAVANDER: Same as Ginger.

HYOSCINE AKA SCOPOLAMINE – IT IS NOT OTC! It is doctor prescribed and serious stuff if all else fails. Patch or Tablets (Not cheap).  

MUSIC – distraction, pop in your ear buds and crank the Grateful Dead or whatever music floats your boat.

 

TIPS: You need the seasickness remedies working in your system well in advance of your trip, especially Bonine or Dramamine. Take the remedy the night before your trip, as soon as you wake up and then right as the boat pushes off.

A good attitude – no joke. You can scare yourself into sea sickness, seen it happen. I have been told by many a captain. If you keep thinking about it, it’s going to happen.

(I was in the beer business and chartered a 6-pack fishing boat to take 5 buyers Striper fishing in Montauk. It was 6-10ft and nasty and we went out! This one idiot in the bunch that was on the boat was hungover, had a big breakfast before getting on the boat and was extremely worried about getting seasick that day. That idiot did get sick and that idiot was me! I had a few things going against me on the trip that day hungover, ate too much and was worried about it)

Do not be hungover or hit it hard the night before, honestly if you wake up dizzy just stay home. 

Do not eat a big meal or overdo it on the food.

Do not stay in the cabin. Do not lay down. You need to fight the seasickness, stand up and anticipate the rolling, hold onto the rail and be your own stabilizer.  

You need fresh sea air, an unobstructed view and always look to the horizon. While you’re at it look for whales and dolphins it will help take your mind off the sea sickness.

Stay off your computer and don't text or read a book. The rocking is different from a car or a train, it can get to you and if it does its hard to bounce back.

Back of the boat moves less than the front.

PLEASE do everyone on the boat a favor! – DO NOT get sick on or inside the cabin and especially not in the bathroom! You will make everyone around you who’s teetering on seasickness to get sick. Its a chain reaction and it aint pretty. 

You need to get up, get outside and get to the back of the boat, grab the rail and have at it. There is no shame in getting seasick!

If there is a question in your mind you may be hit with seasickness or the feeling is hitting you, grab a sickness bag (also known as a sick sack, airsick bag, airsickness bag, emesis bag, sick bag, barf bag, vomit bag or motion sickness bag) and keep it on you, just incase you cant get to the rail.

 

Please understand this fact – The Whale Watching boat is not going back or in early because anyone is seasick, no matter how much you beg! You will need to deal with your seasickness demons so be prepared because you do not have to be seasick!  

 

BTW Pictures never really show how intense the ocean is so if it looks nuts in photos chances are it was insane! In this picture of a Humpback Breaching I was 7 miles off and it was starting to get big 5-7ft+ and rough, you can somewhat see it in the photo. I followed the whale for a little while and gave myself two minutes more and I am going in, it was getting too rough for a 26ft boat. Seconds before I was turning the boat around, BOOM a big breach, I got the shot and  I high tailed back to the inlet. No...I did not get seasick.

 

 

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/seasickness-is-preventable Sun, 24 Sep 2017 13:16:51 GMT
The most important fish in the sea. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/the-most-important-fish-in-the-sea READ THIS, IT IS IMPORTANT!

YOU LIKE FISHING ON ANY LEVEL FROM THE BACK BAYS TO THE OPEN OCEAN?

YOU LIKE SEEING HUMPBACK WHALES AND DOLPHINS OFF THE SHORES OF NEW YORK??

YOU LIKE SEEING OSPREYS AND EAGLES RETURNING TO NEW YORK???

If you do, you are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Amendment either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on Draft Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden and NY’s public hearing is Tuesday, Sept 12th.   

 

PUBLIC HEARING

The NY Public Hearing on Atlantic Menhaden Draft Amendment 3 is tomorrow.

September 12, 2017 6:00pm - 8:00pm.

NYSDEC Division of Marine Resources

205 N. Belle Mead Road, East Setauket, New York

 

CAN’T MAKE IT, SEND AN EMAIL!

Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on October 20, 2017 and should be forwarded to Megan Ware, FMP Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at comments@asmfc.org (Subject line: Draft Amd. 3).

Final action on the Amendment, as well as specification of the 2018 TAC, is scheduled to occur on November 14th at the BWI Airport Marriott, 1743 West Nursery Road, Linthicum, MD.

 

 

Draft Amendment 3 seeks to manage the menhaden resource in a way that balances menhaden's ecological role as a prey species with the needs of all user groups. To this end, the Draft Amendment considers the use of ecosystem reference points (ERPs) to manage the resource and changes to the allocation method. In addition, it presents a suite of management options for quota transfers, quota rollovers, incidental catch, the episodic events set aside program, and the Chesapeake Bay reduction fishery cap.

The 2015 Benchmark Stock Assessment Report identified the development of ERPs as a high priority for Atlantic menhaden management. Menhaden serve an important role in the marine ecosystem as prey for a variety of species including larger fish (e.g. weakfish, striped bass), birds (e.g. bald eagles, osprey), and marine mammals (e.g. humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins). As a result, changes in the abundance of menhaden may impact the abundance and diversity of predator populations, particularly if the availability of other prey is limited. ERPs provide a method to assess the status of menhaden within the broad ecosystem context. Draft Amendment 3 provides a variety of reference point options, including the continued development of menhaden-specific ERPs as well as the application of precautionary guidelines for forage fish species.

Draft Amendment 3 also considers changes to the allocation method given concerns that the current approach may not strike an appropriate balance between gear types and jurisdictions. Specifically, under the current allocation method, increases in the total allowable catch (TAC) result in limited benefits to small-scale fisheries, and to several states. Furthermore, the current method may not provide a balance between the present needs of the fishery and future growth opportunities. Draft Amendment 3 considers a range of allocation alternatives, including a dispositional quota (bait vs. reduction), fleet-capacity quota (quota divided by gear type), jurisdictional quota, including a fixed minimum quota for each state, and an allocation method based on the TAC. In addition, the document considers five allocation timeframes including 2009-2011, 2012-2016, 1985-2016, 1985-1995, and a weighted approached which considers both historic and recent landings.

 

Final action on the Amendment, as well as specification of the 2018 TAC, is scheduled to occur on November 14th at the BWI Airport Marriott, 1743 West Nursery Road, Linthicum, MD.

For more information, please contact Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at mware@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

 

ALL THESE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN IN NYC WATERS. IT WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE IF THE MENHADEN FISH AKA BUNKER WERE NOT HERE IN NUMBERS FOR THE HUMPBACK WHALES TO FEED ON!

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/the-most-important-fish-in-the-sea Mon, 11 Sep 2017 13:49:20 GMT
Bottlenose Dolphins on the CRESLI Great South Channel trip http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/bottlenose-dolphins Sunday September 10, 2017 on the American Princess with Gotham Whale. No humpbacks on the run today but tons of Bunker on the surface and we did meet up with some Inshore Bottlenose Dolphins.

The meeting started off slow, a few dolphins seen, then a few more and then many but very spread out over a large area in all directions. A few calves in the mix of the pod and all dolphins were chasing down food. It looks like they are playing but I’m sure it’s all part of catching their food or maybe a little bit of both - not a dolphin expert, will never be.

The coolest thing I have ever seen live involving bottlenose dolphins happened today AND I caught part of it in a 15-photo sequence (love the 1DX II).  A dolphin kicked with its tail a Bluefish straight up, clear out of the water and into the air like 10-12 feet. The tail of the Dolphin was not seen in the photos because of the white water from the action. Oh-man I can’t believe I got that shot, very hard to get dolphins doing cool stuff because they are so unpredictable. Whales on the other hand are more predictable.     

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/bottlenose-dolphins Mon, 11 Sep 2017 00:32:54 GMT