5 humpbacks in Raritan!
Friday July 20th A great crowd on the AP today, with a bunch of regulars. The ocean conditions didn’t matter, we stayed in lower NY Harbor and Raritan Bay. Wind was 15-20mph with bright sunshine and 75 degrees, a perfect day out on the American Princess Cruises Whale and Dolphin Adventure!
Things started out different today than any other whale and dolphin watch. We headed out of Breezy and instead of charging straight out into the Ocean we stay on the inside, what a good move!
We get to our spot and meet up with a humpback that is motoring with a purpose, and we follow. It didn’t take long for the show to begin and when it did it was non-stop and spectacular! It started out with a few surface feedings and then BOOM this whale blasts out of the water, mouth wide open, water and bunker flying everywhere, and again it didn’t stop! Some of these lunge feedings by this whale were violent and the height it was getting was nuts. In a lunge feeding whales use their very large and powerful pectoral fins like we would use our arms in a breast stroke in swimming. This whale gets so into feeding that its pectorals are out of the water in the lunge feeding. This is my new favorite whale, sorry Jerry the whale #NYC0011.
While watching whale #1 we see another blow then a lunge feeding, we now have whale #2. Whale #1 and Whale #2 are in the same area and they are motoring toward each other, all the while, lunge feeding. They met up for moment 50 feet apart and then went in opposite directions, still lunge feeding. While all this is happening at the front of the AP (twelve-o’clock), screams come from the back of the boat “Two lung feeding whales at Six o’clock!” and another scream from the port side “Whale Lunge feeding at “ten o’clock”. OK, now we have five whales and all five are actively lunge feeding all around the AP. I overheard a passenger say, there are too many whales, I don’t where to look! I thought to myself what a great problem to have.
While on a whale watching boat, screaming “there’s the whale” is too broad. Where’s the whale? We have a 360-degree view of the ocean! The whale could be anywhere around the boat, so you need to be specific or you miss the action. For directing passengers to where the whale is beside the AP, a system is in place. The AP is like a clock. Twelve o’clock is the bow, six o’clock is the stern, Port is nine o’clock and starboard is three o’clock. When a whale is seen, one of the crew or passengers will scream “Ten O’clock” Now the AP is like a clock so ten o’clock means the whale is on the port side towards the front of the boat. It really helps but with five whales its gets crazy…a good crazy.
The AP sat in the middle of the five lunge feeding whales, watching at a distance with the NYC skyline as the backdrop. Times up, one more lunge feeding and a perfect day of whale watching!