NYC0071 Second Rescue Effort by CCS, USCG and Gotham Whale.
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.