Artie Raslich Photography: Blog http://www.artieraslich.com/blog en-us (C) Artie Raslich Photography araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:45:00 GMT Mon, 20 Nov 2017 12:45:00 GMT http://www.artieraslich.com/img/s/v-5/u505224301-o1007081913-50.jpg Artie Raslich Photography: Blog http://www.artieraslich.com/blog 120 117 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 was 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. 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 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.

OFF SUBJECT and a very good fact - DEC NYS ENCON PO Evan Laczi 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

(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 N604PD flying around and I hear on the radio they are locating whales from the air that are 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 to the whales in the ocean, 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 are 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 al 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. 

 

There was a tweet saying the whale has made it out to open water as per NCPD. This tweet caused quite a stir! BUT its not conclusive, the video is not clear. You can’t ID the whale, it could be any whale? It’s not taken in Atlantic Beach or the area after the AB Bridge or ER inlet. NCPD is not backing up the video. The words are vague on the description and could mean it made it out of a back bay or it made it out to freedom past the AB Bridge. To me this video is useless.

 

NOW- let’s hope the Humpback Whale called Reynolds is out to Sea and never comes back! Other than the video mentioned above the last report of “Reynolds the Whale” was reported by Tim O’Connor and I yesterday 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!

 

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
30 Dolphins and Kristi's Birthday http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/30-dolphins-and-kristis-birtday Cold, windy and a very large East wind chop was on tap for today but the American Princess goes out because it’s what it does! Capt. Frank at the helm ready for the challenge of finding whales and dolphins for the crowd. Not a large crowd but it didn’t matter because they were into what the day could bring. There was a group on board celebrating a birthday for an old friend and research associate of Gotham Whale and the American Princess, Kristi aka “the Dolphin whisperer”. A nice rowdy bunch of whale and dolphin lovers who, if we didn’t see what we came for, was just enjoying the cold air, cold beer and company of friends in pursuit of seeing Dolphins!!!!

We ran around everywhere and just when most, if not all, gave up Capt Frank found the impossible – a pod of 30 Bottlenose Dolphins. I gotta say what the dolphins didn’t make up in numbers and time spent with them they made up in by way of a very nice dolphin show. They were active and very close at times to the AP.

As the captains always say, never give up hope until we are tied up at the dock!

Fun had by all today and Happy Birthday to Kristi, she got the Birthday gift she wanted…TO SEE DOLPHINS.  

30 Bottlenose dolphins seen.

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/9/30-dolphins-and-kristis-birtday Sun, 03 Sep 2017 00:07:43 GMT
JERRY IS BACK! http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/jerry-is-back Went out late in the day looking for Humpbacks, Dolphin or anything that’s out there. Conditions were perfect! Light winds, no ground swell and near glass to a foot chop on the sea. I was on the SHIP OF FOOLS but did see the American Princess on her way in.

We meet up with K-CUP and it was logging and when I say this I mean totally on the surface, sleeping out like a light, looking like, you guessed it…a log. I shut the boat off and turned up the music and watched K-CUP for some time.

K-CUP woke up and shook us. We stayed in the area looking at the bunker schools to see if any other whales would show and it was time to go.

Driving back, a few miles from where we were we ran back into K-CUP by catching sight of a chance blow.  Bunker schools are ready for the taking and K-CUP is setting up for its lunge feedings. K-CUP is going at it and there is another whale on the inside feeding also and then another on the outside.

Now we have 3 whales!

The Humpback on the outside was moving in the direction of where K-CUP was logging so it’s on its own.

Now we have two whales very close to each other, one we know is K-CUP the other whale unknown.

Both whales pass within 100 feet from each other and go in different directions and we follow the unidentified humpback. 

 

Here are a few of K-CUP

 

 

Now we are watching the “new” whale at a distance and as time goes by I have many chances to view this whale.

it’s dorsal, it looks floppy, bent to one side and familiar.

 

 

It starts surface feeding, I start seeing its patterns of how it feeds, its more familiar now.

I see the Peduncle and Its Peduncle Ridge has its back bone sticking out way more than most Humpbacks I see or know.

 

 

Hmmm, I think I know this whale! I just need one tell tail sign and its not its Fluke its the right side of its peduncle, and am looking for prop scars! The humpback dives down and I see what I need to see, the right side of its peduncle does have healed propeller scars and now I 100% know its my favorite whale NYC0011 a humpback that is also known as “Jerry” is back in NYC!

 

 

It was getting late, Jerry was done feeding and we were running out of light and went back in and on the way grabbed a few sunset shots but still over the top about Jerry being in town!

 

 

WOW…JERRY IS BACK IN NYC!!!!

Jerry, the most famous NYC whale that did a spy hop directly in line with the Empire State Building back in 2013 is here, alive and well, bigger and fatter than ever...in NYC Waters for a 4th confirmed year!

WELCOME BACK JERRY!

Fyi - I didn’t see Jerry last year in 2016 but have in 13,14,15 and now 17. We know he was in Montauk on Aug 6, 2017 as he was seen by Artie Kopelman on the CRESLI Viking Whale watch in Montauk. Jerry is the 2011 calf of SMOG in the GOM Humpback Whale Catalog. Jerry is known as NYC0011 in the NYC Humpback Whale Catalog.

Jerry went out and we went in and we will see you tomorrow and hopefully up through late September!

 

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/jerry-is-back Sat, 26 Aug 2017 13:12:37 GMT
Yellowfin Tuna on the CRESLI Great South Channel Trip http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/yellowfin-tuna-on-the-cresli-great-south-channel-trip I was on the CRESLI trip, run by Artie Kopelman, to the Great South Channel on August 13th to the 15th.

We just left a pod of Risso's Dolphins and Common Dolphins.

I was very surprised at the ocean conditions, it was like glass, a very small ground swell and a breath of a wind, in a nutshell - perfect sea conditions. When the ocean is like this you can see a disturbance on the surface miles away.

We were on the hunt for Humpback Whales and all around us was fish breaking the surface of the water, very quick hits, and BIG FISH!

Up in the air were two small single prop aircrafts, one near us and the other a ways away, they both were circling the area. In the distance and getting closer was a crazy looking boat, 30ft-35ft in length. It had a large tuna tower and a pulpit gang plank both extremely long and exaggerated. What was on the surface was getting closer to our vessel and so was the boat, the Airplanes were off somewhere else.

Right by the boat was a very large disturbance, big splashes and I was camera ready and got a few shots.

The fish that were breaking the surface were Yellowfin Tuna estimated to be 200-300lbs. There were a few breaches but didn’t get those, these Tuna are fast.  

The crew and captain of the Viking grabbed their fishing gear and hit the back of the boat and were pulling in some Mackerel on every drop, the mackerel was the bait. They dropped a few tuna rigs but got one to bite but it got away.

It was incredible to see this all happen live a bonus to an awesome Humpback Whale trip with CRESLI.

 

 

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/yellowfin-tuna-on-the-cresli-great-south-channel-trip Mon, 14 Aug 2017 14:33:00 GMT
Common Dolphin on the CRESLI Great South Channel Trip http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/common-dolphin Common Dolphin, my favorite Dolphin so far! I Love seeing these mammals out in the ocean. I have seen them here in NYC waters from time to time and they are so much fun to be around.

I was on the CRESLI trip, run by Artie Kopelman, to the great south channel on August 13th to the 15th.

We just left a pod of Risso's dolphins and we ran into this big pod of Common Dolphins.

All my encounters are basically the same with Common Dolphins...AWESOME!

The Dolphin pod spots the boat.

The whole pod quickly changes directions in unison and heads directly at the boat.

In minutes, there are common dolphin very close and all around the boat.

They are riding the bow pressure waves of the boat, playing, jumping, making very loud clicks and by the looks of it they are having a blast doing all this!

YES, every time it’s the same and it happened on the CRESLI Trip. It was a short but sweet visit with the Common’s but what a great experience and the photos, because they are so close always come out great.

Here are a few photos…

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/common-dolphin Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:36:00 GMT
RISSO'S DOLPHINS! On the CRESLI Great South Channel Trip http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/rissos-dolphins I had the pleasure of going out on one of the CRESLI bi-yearly trips run by Artie Kopelman to the great south channel, August 13th to the 15th. GSC is a deep channel at the southern end of the Gulf of Maine. GSC’s location is between Georges Bank, Nantucket Shoals and where we went was off the shores of Chatham Massachusetts. It’s a major feeding area for many marine mammals, fish, shark and sea birds. Its an exciting adventure for me because I never travel outside of the NY Bight to see humpbacks and I mostly say in the sights of NYC.

I woke up early, 4:45am before astronomical dawn and grabbed a cold cup of coffee from the pot thats been there from the night before. I readied my camera gear for a day of photographing what would be seen. I went to the bow of the boat with a cold cup of Joe and a few cameras and what I saw and smelt was awesome. A Flat, glassy ocean, the sun was not even up on the horizon, just a yellow sky no clouds. Splashes all around the boat and the smell of Humpback whale breath just hung in the air.

The splashes got closer, the few that were up on deck saw what was making those splashes, Dolphins. Not your regular everyday bottlenose dolphins but funky looking dolphins. I am shooting away and they are giving us a show, breaching all over, mom’s with their calves and they coming close to the boat. I still have no idea what kind of dolphin’s these are. Someone literally screams, as loud as someone can at 530am RISSO’S!!! Instantly, I am thinking “who is Rizzo, he or she better get their ass out of bed and get upside quick”. Then another person scream RISSO’S I can’t believe it, RISSO'S DOLPHINS, I always wanted to see them! OK, I am with the program now, the "dolphins" are called "Rizzo’s Dolphins", got it. I never seen them before, I never heard of them before but apparently this is a big deal and I love it! Artie K, get on the horn and say's this is the first time Risso’s Dolphins were seen on a CRESLI trip. NOW I get why people are freaking out and am very happy to be part of the madness.

These Risso's dolphins were big Dolphins 10-12ft but they looked like they have been in some epic battles! There were about 25-50 of them in the pod and they were beat up, markings and bite marks everywhere, some markings looked like Aboriginal Patterns. Some had deep open wounds and one must have gone after baited fishing gear and was hooked up and released because it had a leader coning from its mouth.

The sun broke the horizon and gave us who were up amazing lighting for a few shots and the encounter was over.

That’s my Risso’s dolphin story, check out the photos.

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/rissos-dolphins Mon, 14 Aug 2017 11:36:00 GMT
Tuesday August 9th. A small Dolphin pod and 2 humpbacks way off. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/tuesday-august-9th-a-small-dolphin-pod-and-2-humpbacks-way-off Tuesday August 9th on the “SHIP OF FOOLS”. Another perfect summer day on the water, 2-3+ ocean swell, light offshore winds, warm water and broken clouds.

Jumped in the boat with the cameras and charged out of ER to see “if” I can locate some whales, dolphins or bunker.  I love days like these with no chop, flat waters. Yes there is an ocean swell but it doesn’t get in the way of going fast when you see something, a chop does. Whale watching is very boring at times but when you find something it makes up for it.

I didn’t see bunker until miles out but I found them. With them, I saw what looked like a balloon on the surface 2 miles away, minutes later a splash and I knew it was Dolphins. I let them be, as most of the time I do, I am looking for Humpbacks.

An hour later and 5 miles further out I saw a very faint, weak blow, then a good sized splash followed by another good blow during that splash, I just spotted two Humpbacks. The Humpbacks were 3+ miles away in the other direction and I was already 14 miles from the inlet. I could have been there in 4-5 minutes but then, when I arrived in that area, I had to find them, watch them (photograph) and get back. I didn’t have that time.

I chose to turn around and head towards home and if I saw those dolphins from the beginning of the watch I will stop for a few photos. I did meet up with that pod and there were 15 or so dolphins with a few calf’s in the mix. They were feeding and playing but they didn’t want anything to do with the boat, as usual, and kept their distance. All the better, I had to go anyway.

15 dolphins, 2 Humpbacks and a decent amount of Bunker on the surface during the 40+ mile run. I didn’t get the Humpback photos but I saw them and that’s the way I goes sometimes.

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/tuesday-august-9th-a-small-dolphin-pod-and-2-humpbacks-way-off Wed, 09 Aug 2017 11:33:58 GMT
Sunday August 6th a Humpback in Ambrose. NYC0061 aka New Jersey or Jersey. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/sunday-august-6th-a-humpback-in-ambrose Sunday August 6 and it was slated by the weather people to be a top ten weather day of the year, well they failed with that forecast! But it was one hell of a whale watching day. The conditions were cloudy, cool, ZERO Ocean swell, 1 foot wind chop, the wind was gusty out of the SW and the water was still murky from the rain yesterday

We charged out of Breezy, got to the ocean and the boat didn’t even rock, flat seas! The bunker were there but not in numbers and not on the surface. We quickly came upon a Humpback Whale and it quickly went into lungefeeding mode. What’s weird is that I didn’t see one bunker fly out of its mouth or around the whale once? Maybe they were almost at the surface and we didn’t see them. The whale did a bunch of lunge feedings today but one was very unique. Different whales do different things when they lungefeeding. Some get out of the water in an all out attack on Bunker, others don’t waste to much energy and take it slow. This whale did a lungefeeding, then stayed on the surface rolled over and displayed its Ventral Pleats. Then rolled over to its right side and did a blow half in and half out of the water and that was loud!

Second day in a row a Humpback came 5 feet from the boat and gave a scare to a few that were right there.

The whale we met today is a new Humpback Whale to NYC and it gets number NYC0061 in the NYC Humpback Whale Catalog held by Gotham Whale its nickname is New Jersey or Jersey for short. If you didn’t know, I am the curator, and quite honored to be the curator of that catalog. Its also a pleasure to work on the AP with GW. The Captain’s, crew and the GW team are awesome and I also meet some very interesting people that come on the WW’s, an overall great situation for me I must say.

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2017/8/sunday-august-6th-a-humpback-in-ambrose Mon, 07 Aug 2017 01:20:36 GMT