You have all heard the news, NYC has a new resident Humpback Whale in the Hudson River named Gotham. Gotham, numbered as #NYC0055 in the "New York City Humpback Whale Catalog” seems to not want to leave and can you blame him or her? This whale has an abundant amount of food, the water is cleaner than ever and the sights aren’t bad either. Gotham was sighted last on the Hudson River and Upper NY Bay. The whale was moving, lunge feeding, and doing what Humpback Whales do for days at a time in late November. Gotham started a media craze here in NYC and New Yorkers were awakened to the fact that Humpback Whales do exist in NYC waters! Also, in this awakening, people in Manhattan are finding that NYC actually has a real deal Whale Watching boat called the American Princess with Gotham Whale not even an hour away at Riis Landing in Queens NY! Both are still a surprise to some, but not to the people in the know.
A week or so have gone by, no sighting’s of Gotham were being reported to Gotham Whale by its Citizen Scientists on land and by sea. Had Gotham, the Humpback Whale slipped out of the Upper NY Bay and Hudson river and out to the Atlantic Ocean? Maybe Gotham had its fill of all the NYC action and migrated down to the breeding grounds of the Silver Banks, Dominican Republic.
We were out on the American Princess Cruises this past Sunday, December 4th. This was the last Humpback Whale and Dolphin adventure of the 2016 season (80 total Whale Watching trips for the year). While in the Ambrose Channel we saw a very big splash (breaching whale) followed by a few tail slaps and a pectoral wave way off in the distance. We safely find and approach the whale and stay with it for a bit, giving the whale room and not “crowding” it. The whale crosses the bow of the boat one way, then the other giving us a good look at the Left and Right Dorsal’s. Looking at the Dorsal photos in the camera, this whale looks familiar. But we need the money shot…the Fluke, it tells who it is. The Humpback takes a breath and dives, no fluke as of yet. As the whale dives down and leaves its footprint on the surface of the water. Off in the distance you can clearly see the beautiful Manhattan skyline, this is NYC whale watching at its best! The whale comes up, does a big blow followed by a long drawn out dive providing a clear shot of its Fluke…it’s Gotham! We just met up with Gotham! This Humpback is doing well in the waters of NYC, it is in great shape and getting fatter by the day. This shows that this famous NYC Resident Humpback Whale has clearly came into the Harbor and up the Hudson chasing its meal of choice here, Atlantic Menhaden. It was not an accident this Humpback is here, its not lost and it was not due to a sickness. Maybe Gotham just loves it here and can you blame him? It has been said “if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere” I guess this goes for Humans and Humpbacks alike.
Safe travels Gotham, until we meet again!
© Artie Raslich Photography