Saturday April 14th 2018, Swinburne Island Seals
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!