Thursday, June 15th 2017. TWO Humpbacks and 50-100 Dolphins on the AP with GW. NYC0042
Thursday June 15th 2017. Wave Heights – 2-3ft, Water Temp - 65, Wind – South - SE, Speed – 10+, Air Temp 70, Cloud Cover – Very light.
Whales seen – TWO Humpback Whales, 50-100 Dolphins (Dolphins numbers are always an estimate)
A media crew from “CBS This Morning” was out on the American Princess Cruises “Whale and Dolphin Adventure” with Gotham Whale doing a news piece on NYC Whales.
We ran out of Breezy Point and headed to the spot where we saw the whales the day before. It was not long before I saw the first blow around 12:30pm. I never alert the Captain that I spotted a Humpback Whale until I see the whale twice. BOOM...I see the second blow 7-8 minutes later, now I 100% know we have a Humpback and a solid location to tell the captain. I rap on the window and tell Captain Tom “Humpback 9pm, 400 yards.” He acknowledges with a thumbs up and a smile...here we go, we are on a whale watch.
As we are approaching the Humpback it starts to lunge feed on the Atlantic Menhaden that’s out here in numbers. It’s the whales food of choice here in the NYC waters and is why it's here. The AP is now in whale watching mode at a respectable distance from the whale, moving very slow.
The Humpback performs a powerful surface behavior known as a Peduncle Throw, Tail Throw or a Tail Breach. This is where a humpback whale throws its peduncle sideways, with its tail out of the water landing with a huge splash of water. It's violent and I freaking love it!
Spending time with this whale I start to notice I have seen this dorsal before. Another lungefeeding happens. I look at the photos just shot and YES… I 100% know this whale. It's an old friend to the NYC Humpback Whale catalog- its number is #NYC0042, AKA Patchy. Why Patchy? The whale has big white roundish markings that look like two white eye patches right by both eyes…it was named Patchy by the CBS Crew.
The Captain wanted to give NYC0042 a break and some space so we left that whale and went looking for the other Humpback Whale and 50-100 Dolphin in the area. We keep seeing the blows from the other whale but knew it was in mellow mode so we left it alone and met up with the Dolphins instead. The Dolphins always look like they are playing and gave us a good show.
We stayed with them for a bit and noticed that NYC0042 followed us and ended up with the dolphins. OK, now we have dolphins and whales together and it doesn’t get much better than that on a “Whale and Dolphin Adventure.” Man, dolphins swim fast and they moved out of the area quickly and left us with NYC0042.
These Humpbacks are here in NYC to feed on Atlantic Menhaden, but they move around. In 2016 I photographed this whale NYC0042 off of NYC in July and in November. NYC0042 was also seen and photographed out in Montauk by CRESLI’s Director Artie Kopelman in early august of 2016. SO this whale was in NYC went to Montauk and the returned to NYC and probably went down to the Silver Bank for the winter…Not a bad life!
Here is some good news with Patchy - I met up with and photographed Patchy in 2016 while out on my boat the SHIP OF FOOLS. In the 2016 photos I noticed that it had deep open rope cuts on its Peduncle and Tail and the cuts were infested with Sea Lice. The rope cuts are a clear indication that this whale had been entangled in fishing gear or a fishing pot. It was very lucky and shed the gear and lives today because of that! Here are two photos from 2016.
I got some great photos today, here are two photos showing both sides of the cuts and they are healed with no sea lice in the scar and that’s very good news for this Humpback.
These Humpbacks are here to feed on Atlantic Menhaden, but the Humpbacks move around. In 2016 I photographed this whale NYC0042 off of NYC in July and in November. NYC0042 was also seen and photographed out in Montauk by CRESLI’s Director Artie Kopelman in early august of 2016. SO this whale was in NYC went to Montauk and the returned to NYC and probably went down to the Silver Bank for the winter…Not a bad life!
Here are a few more shots of the day.
Great day had by all! It's awesome the CBS News Crew was out documenting and sharing with the world that Humpback Whales are in the waters of NYC! Believe me, I do this every day. You would be shocked at how many people stare blankly at me when I say “I photograph Humpback Whales off of NYC,” and its usually followed by their laughter. This news coverage helps with my daily fight.
In the time we had with NYC0042 we saw about 8 lunge feedings, 2 tail throws (one was NUTS!) and a semi tail slap. It's good to be a Humpback Whale Photographer here in NYC!!!!
That's the first time I've had my heart pounding in my laundry room. Very exciting blog- really magnificent photos.
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