Artie Raslich Photography: Blog http://www.artieraslich.com/blog en-us (C) Artie Raslich Photography araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) Sun, 20 May 2018 20:24:00 GMT Sun, 20 May 2018 20:24:00 GMT http://www.artieraslich.com/img/s/v-5/u505224301-o1007081913-50.jpg Artie Raslich Photography: Blog http://www.artieraslich.com/blog 120 117 Dead Humpback Whale on Long Beach - The Circus is in town! http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/5/dead-humpback-whale-on-long-beach---the-circus-is-in-town How sad is this! AND I am not just talking about the dead Humpback Whale on the beach, I’m talking about the crowd, their actions and everything about it. The Circus is town!

5-18-2018 An adolescent, 2-6 years old, 33-foot Female Humpback Washed up on the barrier island beach called Long Beach in Nassau County on Long Island NY. A very populated area with the common center of interest, the Beach. Cause of death – ship strike.

I went down to LB, parked and walked up the boardwalk ramp from the street and it was apparent where the dead whale was. You could not see the whale, all that could be seen was a crowd. I walked down the access ramp to the beach to get a closer look. I can now see the whale through the crowd. Walking up to the whale a few things pop out at me, no authorities standing-on the whale and the amount of people around the whale.

People on the beach - I get into the photo process, asking people politely if they can move and/or waiting for the area to clear to get the shots. I was in total disbelief of what I saw. NOW – I know this is a big thing, and not a common occurrence “A humpback Whale washed up on the beach”. It’s a big draw and it is something to see up-close and personal. But to stand next to a whale and take photos with it is mind-blowing to me. There were many people feet away from the whale, some people were respectful. Others were kicking, touching, slapping and moving the whale. Someone removed a live whale barnacle from its body, another ripped a piece of skin off the whale and then dropped it on the sand. There was even a kid playing with a toy on and around the whale, he almost went in its mouth and tried to crawl under the whale’s peduncle. That is just crazy!

No authorities standing-on the whale – Now, I support and respect the blue line and “all law” enforcement agencies…period! A mistake was made here on the beach with this humpback whale via a no-show by law enforcement. I can only assuming it starts with the LBPD. LB is its own city “The City By The Sea” it’s their beach, they have their own PD. Long Beach is a mess right now, times are tough and funds are low so maybe it was the city officials that handed down the orders to not to have the LBPD to stand-on the whale. It might have been NOAA telling LBPD not to stand-on the whale. NOAA in the USA govern all when it comes Whales. I don’t know who made the call or dropped the ball but again a mistake was made. (my opinion)

Here are few examples of what authorities have performed to keep the whale secure in other areas.

04-04-2017 Dead Humpback Whale washed up on Rockaway Beach, NY. NYPD and DEC and Park Rangers stood-on the Humpback Whale, the area taped off and secured by 100ft in all directions. There were large crowds, but they could not get close to the whale. Death Ship Strike

12-26-2017 Dead Humpback Whale washed up on Atlantic Beach, NY. The NCPD stood-on the Humpback Whale that washed on a “Nassau County Beach”. Not a person, that I saw, was anywhere near that whale. There were people walking around but that’s it. Death Ship Strike

02-13-2018 Dead Humpback Whale washed up on Breezy Point, NY. Park Rangers and NYPD stood-on the Humpback Whale. Death, Ship Strike.

05-04-2018 Dead Humpback Whale washed up on a Beach, NJ – Authorities stood-on the whale, no one approached. Death, Ship Strike.

05-18-2018 Dead Humpback Whale washed up on Long Beach NY. No police (LBPD) presence on the beach. The area around the Humpback not secured or roped off? Yes, there were construction cones, they did nothing. Death Ship Strike. Also, the temporary headquarters for the LB Aux Police is on the same block as the dead humpback. I parked right in front of the LBPD Aux headquarters and walked past the front of that office to take pictures of this whale. A parked, unused AUX Police car was sitting there the whole time? They couldn’t do anything to secure the area?

I love to photograph Humpback Whale at their best, the lunge feedings and all the acrobatics they do. It is nuts, I am still in shock and awe that I can see it right here in these waters!! I despise taking pictures of them at their worst, dead on the beach like a piece of trash. Today I took the worst photos I can ever take of a Humpback Whale, very sad.

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/5/dead-humpback-whale-on-long-beach---the-circus-is-in-town Sun, 20 May 2018 04:20:00 GMT
WHAT A DAY! 2 Humpbacks and 1 was an acrobat! http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/5/what-a-day-2-humpbacks-and-1-was-an-acrobat WHAT A DAY! Today was one of the best American Princess Whale Watches I have ever been on...PERIOD!

Saturday May 12th NOON, Conditions at the time of the cruise “GOOD” – DRY, cloudy/overcast, air temp 59, water temp 54, winds E-ESE 8-15, 1-2ft chop.

We met up with the first whale very quickly. It was the same one we saw on Sunday (the one that was almost hit by the boat off Sandy Hook). The whale was probably sleeping or just taking a break waiting for conditions to get good for feeding. People were saying the whale was logging but it was not. “Logging” is a behavior that whales do when at rest and appear like "logs" on the surface. It is defined as lying without forward movement at the surface of the water with the dorsal fin or parts of the back are exposed. The whale was not doing this, it was slowly moving, with short breaths and then dives that lasted 5+ minutes (just like the last time we saw the whale). Maybe the whale was waiting for the Bunker to hit the surface, so it can start to feed on Bunker. There were tons of bunker in the area, but they were on the bottom. We and the whales need the Bunker on the surface and that’s when the lunge feeding happens but not today and not with this whale.

All spotters on the boat noticed big splashes WAY off in the distance, very close to the shore, like 3+ miles away. Capt. Frank and I thought it was waves breaking on the Jetty. We are traveling in that direction and minutes go by we all notice it’s not wave action, it Humpback Whale action! We quickly motored over and meet up with this very active Humpback Whale.

WOW, this whale was going nuts! The show for us started with some very powerful Peduncle throws or Tail Throws, also known as peduncling. a crack-the-whip rotation with its whole-body, throwing its tail and Peduncle out of the water and sideways ending in a giant splash. This whale did these Peduncle throws for almost an hour! Stopping only for Air and setup, NON-STOP!!

We were on the whale for half an hour and The AP moved away to give the whale a break. WHAT DOES THE WHALE DO, IT FOLLOWS US! Man…this Whale wanted to show off. The whale, at times, was very close to the boat. It did a Peduncle throw 15 feet from the front left side of the AP. Another time it was directly in front of the AP, I was on the pulpit looking down on this beautiful Whale. I was waiting to get totally drenched from a Peduncle Throw but thankfully it didn’t do that, it kicked its tail and slowly did a shallow dive.

The whale switched gears onto Pec Slapping and again it came very close to the boat. The close encounter started with the whale on the right side of the boat, then it came around the front and went to the left side and made a turn and went back the other way! It basically traveled in a half circle around the boat…TWICE!

The whale switched gears and moved into tail lobbing, slapping its tail on the surface making a very loud noise. The whale did this right side up AND upside-down meaning, it was slapping the top of its fluke on the water and then switching to slapping the bottom of its fluke on the water. While doing this he threw in Peduncle throws in the mix here and there. WHEN IS THIS GOING TO STOP!

The whale changes it up again with some heavy Chin Slaps or Chin Lobbing. This is when the whale raises its head out of the water and slams or slaps it on the water surface. The whale took a little break and I know what’s next. My eyes and camera are locked to the surface and it happens A FULL BREACH. It was nuts, this whale almost made it all the way out of the water. It did a few belly breaches then a twisting breach into a backwards breach.

We were with the whale for an hour and a half and it performed non-stop acrobatic maneuvers (tail slapping, pectoral slapping, tail throws, breaches, chin slapping and breaches) My arm were killing me from just holding my cameras, this whale must be exhausted! We have had some epic days on the AP’s Whale and Dolphin Watch, but this truly was the best day on the AP since it started whale watching tours in 2011.

 

                                      

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/5/what-a-day-2-humpbacks-and-1-was-an-acrobat Sat, 12 May 2018 14:04:00 GMT
Special Whale Watch with Eyewitness News Ch. 7 NY - No Whales but Dolphins http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/5/special-whale-watch-with-eyewitness-news-ch-7-ny---no-whales-but-dolphins

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/5/special-whale-watch-with-eyewitness-news-ch-7-ny---no-whales-but-dolphins Wed, 09 May 2018 14:04:00 GMT
Sunday May 6th Whale Watch http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/5/sunday-may-6th-whale-watch

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/5/sunday-may-6th-whale-watch Sun, 06 May 2018 14:04:00 GMT
Saturday May 5th. One "NEW" Humpback #NYC0078 aka "CINCO" and 70 Dolphin http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/5/-nyc0078-aka-cinco-and-70-dolphin May 5th the first Whale Watch for Gotham Whale on the American Princess Cruises in the 2018 Whale Watching season. The ocean conditions were perfect with light variable winds and a 5-foot ground swell. A small crowd on hand but they made up for it with enthusiasm.

We pushed off at noon and headed out to sea. We came upon a small pod of dolphins off Rockaway and before we knew it there was two other Dolphin Pods meeting up with the small pod. An estimated Dolphin count was at 70. They hung around the boat for about a little while and then we saw a whale off in the distance and went to investigate.

We met up with this solo humpback Whale, it did not look familiar right-of-the-bat. I knew we had a new whale to NYC waters, no need to look at the 77 flukes we have in the NYC Humpback Whale Catalog. The whale was in a mellow mood, must have just finished feeding in the area and was taking a break. It took some deep, long dives and by doing that exposed its fluke a few times and that’s just what I need to get a good shot of its Fluke for Identification.

The Whale has healed rope scars on its body, peduncle stock and its fluke. This whale has been entangled and has shook it off on its own or had help getting disentangled. I can’t give you the percentages, but I would say many of the whales we see have had run ins with some sort of fishing gear or a boat collision.  

Looking closer at the fluke of this whale it is true, we have never seen this fluke before. Now I know the number this whale is getting #NYC0078 but not the nickname. Before we pushed off, Capt. Tom said if we see a new whale we need to name it “CINCO”! Ahhh I love it, and makes perfect sense, for the day of the first Whale Watch of the season kicking off on “CINCO DE MAYO”. SO, the new whale gets a number in the NYC Humpback Whale Catalog as #NYC0078 and a nickname “Cinco” as per captains’ orders.

We stayed with Cinco the Humpback as long as we could and had to turn back, our time was up.

The inaugural Whale and Dolphin cruise saw 70 dolphins and one Humpback Whale, a great day out on the AP with GW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/5/-nyc0078-aka-cinco-and-70-dolphin Sat, 05 May 2018 23:00:00 GMT
Press coverage using my photos. http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/4/press This is where I will post some of the media coverage that includes my photos. 

ABC NEWS - Why whales are returning to New York City's once polluted waters 'by the ton' 

Pew Trust - Support Pours In for Conserving Menhaden Along the Atlantic Coast

Pew Trust - 5 Keys to Improving Ocean Health

Popular Science - Why whales are back in New York City

New Deeply- A Big Change in How a Small Fish Is Protected Could Help Save Whales

Times Union - Humpback whales return to NYC for the first time in a century

The New York Times - New York Today: A Wave of Whales

NOAA - Humans and Humpbacks of New York

Take Part - The Daily Wild: Nature’s Most Incredible Creatures

NY Post - Yes, you can go whale-watching in the Rockaways

NY Post - Dead humpback washes up on Long Island beach

The Ringer - The Joyous Homecoming for New York City’s Whales

PBS - Decision over a tiny baitfish could sway the largest East Coast fishery

MARCO - New York City Meeting Highlights Development of a Regional Ocean Action Plan for the Mid-Atlantic

The Times (UK) - Whales make splash in New York 

SAC Whales Presentation- Dive Behavior of Humpback Whales off Northern California and Behavioral Response to Ships

WBSM -NOAA proposes removal of most humpback whale populations from endangered species list

The Breakthrough Institute - The Return of Nature

CIBBOWS - Sun, surf, and (whale) songs

LE TEMPS - A New York, le retour des baleines

Quest - Bultrug bezichtigt New York

Advertance - A New York, le retour des baleines

Greenwhic Time - Large numbers of humpback whales have returned to NYC for the first time in a century

Gothamist - Awesome Photo Of Humpback Whale Feeding Just Outside NYC Waters

Global News - More humpback whales spotted in waters off New York City

TIME - Gigantic Whales Eat Huge Amounts Thanks to 'Bungee-Cord' Nerves

The New Yorker - Call Me, Ishmael

CBS - There's a new tourist attraction in NYC: Whales

National Geographic - Menhaden, The Little Fish That Could—Won’t

Riverkeeper - Riverkeeper’s 2017 Victories

The Guardian - Cleaner New York waters see surge in whale and shark numbers

Newsday - Officials: Necropsy planned for humpback whale in East Atlantic Beach

Keep the ocean working - Citizen scientists share their data on whales and other marine mammals around New York Harbor to help make informed decisions and protect wildlife.

PopSugar- https://www.popsugar.com/celebrity/photo-gallery/35641161/image/35641171/City-Sighting

 

 

 

 

 

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/4/press Mon, 16 Apr 2018 10:47:40 GMT
Saturday April 14th 2018, Swinburne Island Seals http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/4/swinburne Conditions were very nice at the beginning of the run. Light winds at the start, picking up as the cruise went on. Temps were in the 70’s at the dock when we pushed off and it did get a little chilly at times on that open water. Ocean waves are not a factor with the Seal cruise to Swinburne Island, NY bay/harbor was a flat to 1ft chop.

A nice crowd on the American Princess Seal and Sea Bird watch today. Warmer weather, Seals, Sea Birds and the chance to see a rare sight of a Humpback Whale in Jamaica bay and/or NY Harbor was the draw.  

Two guest photographers on board today Chris Papparo aka “Fish Guy Photos”, and Wayne Herrschaft LI’s uppermost concert photographer very nice to were on board today. Being on the AP as much as I am I get to see and meet some incredible and amazing photographers that frequent the AP Whale watches over the years. Very nice to see ‎Frederic Strauss‎, Jessica Kirste, Trish Minogue Collins, Lisa Nadler-Reischer and Barbara Hartnett to name a few.

The Seals were very sparse today and conditions were perfect at Swinburne Island? I think a boat came by before we arrived at Swinburn Island and got very close making the seals scatter. There were about 10 Seals around the island in total, a few Grey and the rest were Harbor Seals in the area. 5 seals were on the rocks and others were in the water. We stayed with the seals a little while and headed towards South Beach, Staten Island to see all the action of the 350+ Northern Gannets going nuts diving into the water and to locate any more Seals.

There were Lots of Birders on the boat today (it’s a Seal and Sea Bird Watch). Some to specifically see the Northern Gannets that were in big numbers in the area up-close. It’s always a show watching them dive at high speed from above. Folding their wings at the last second and crashing into the water like an arrow shot from the sky, it’s a very cool sight. The Gannets stole the show today, we usually don’t see this type of action until late fall.

We left the diving Gannets and back to Swinburne to see if any more Seals were in the area. Along the way there were Seals around the boat and close at times, but they were feeding and stayed down most of the time. Nothing changed at Swinburne, so we left and went to Norton's Point Light to see if the Humpback Whale was around and if any Seals were on the rocks of Seagate.

The Captains Frank and Tom always want the crowd to see what they came to see. Today was no different with that Humpback showing up at the AP dock yesterday. We were actively looking for that whale and spent an extra half-an-hour doing just that. Sadly, No Whale today but the Seals and Birds were a big hit with the crowd. The Whale Watching season can’t get here fast enough!

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/4/swinburne Sat, 14 Apr 2018 13:36:00 GMT
Saturday April 07th 2018, Swinburne Island Seals http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/4/saturday-april-07th-2018-swinburne-island-seals  N winds 5 to 15 kt with gusts up to 20 kt. Waves on upper NY Harbor were 1 ft or less. Air temp a cold 42 degrees and partly cloudy skies.

A good crowd on the American Princess today

The Seal and Sea Bird watches on the American Princess today was perfect. Charged out of Riis landing and headed straight for Swinburne Island. We were met by 40-45 Harbor Seals and 4-5 Grey Seals. Some Seals hauled out on the rocks during the high tide showing us adorable expressions. There were some Seals frolicking in the water. The show was the Seals that were in the water, they really put on a show!

Many birds out and about but the Northern Gannets are in town and they were plunge-diving all over the place, always fun seeing them dive into the waters. Northern gannets dive vertically into the sea at velocities of up to 60 mph. The Gannets plunge-dives are relatively shallow, but the Northern Gannet can dive as deep as 70 feet, it uses its wings and feet to swim deeper in pursuit of fish.

A great day out on the water today, cant wait for it to get warmer!

 

I picked up a GoPro and created a 7 second time laps from todays 2 hour seal watch. baby steps with the video format, but I am giving it a go.

 

Here are the photos.

     

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/4/saturday-april-07th-2018-swinburne-island-seals Sun, 08 Apr 2018 00:51:55 GMT
Saturday March 31st 2018, Swinburne Island Seals http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/3/swinburne-seals Saturday March 31st, I went on the American Princess Cruises Seal and Sea Bird watch. Bright sunshine, 45 degrees, light winds and the waters of Lower NY Harbor were calm. We pushed off at noon and made our way to Swinburne Island to catch sight of what’s on and around the island. Its always a nice cruise to the island and we get an intimate look at Coney Island and the light houses of Lower NY Harbor. It was a very clear day and there were great views of upper NY Harbor and the Statue of Liberty.

We came around the old Swinburne docking pier, the rocks came into sight. There were the many seals sprawled out on the rocks of Swinburne. Very few seals in the water today but for the ones that were, it looked like they were having some fun. Lots of action by way of jumping, breaching and playing around the island, it looked like some were feeding. The rest of the seals are hauled out, very content in being high and dry on the rocks.

Today there were a lot Grey Seals on the island with an estimated 5-7. Being told by seal experts that In time the Grey’s will build in numbers and will outnumber and push out the Harbor seals. But for now, the Harbor Seals rule Swinburne Island.

Times up and need to return to Riis Landing. Great day out on the American Princess with Gotham Whale, about 60 Harbor Seals and 5-7 Grey Seals we seen.

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/3/swinburne-seals Sat, 31 Mar 2018 15:58:00 GMT
First Seal Watch on the AP with GW http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/3/first-seal-watch Saturday March 24th, is the start of the 2018 season on the American Princess with Gotham Whale with the first Seal and Sea Bird cruise, it was a good one.

Nice weather, mostly cloudy, highs in the mid-40s. Northwest winds around 10 mph with gusts up to 25 mph, the Lower NY Harbor was showing a 1-foot chop at times. Over all, great conditions for an inaugural run!

A small crowd onboard ready for the 2 hour round trip run to Swinburne Island in Lower NY Harbor. It’s the perfect amount of time needed to get the seal watch in. You start out of Riis Landing and motor slowly towards Swinburn Island taking in some great sights along the way like Coney Island, the Coney Island (Norton Point) Light house and the NYC Skyline to name a few.

We arrived at Swinburne island, from the boat you can see, amongst the broken-down buildings, the place is packed with cormorants, sea gulls and other sea birds. The seals came into frame as soon as we came around the remains of the old docking pier on Swinburne. Not many Seals are in the area today, guessing 25 Harbor and 2 Grey, but the ones that were there were feisty and very very playful! I would rather have 25 playful Seals going nuts jumping and beaching than 90 seals sunning themselves doing nothing. We had a blast watching the seals play all around the boat, spent about 40 minutes with the seals and it’s time for our trip back to Riis Landing.

Today was a success and a great kickoff to the 2018 season!

   

 

 

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araslich@gmail.com (Artie Raslich Photography) http://www.artieraslich.com/blog/2018/3/first-seal-watch Sat, 24 Mar 2018 13:48:00 GMT
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