a Whale in Lower Bay

Posted in dredges, lower bay, marine mammal, new york harbor, tugs, whale by bowsprite on 2009/04/13

Michelle Jeanne sent the txt: Traffic (VHF channel 13) reported a humpback whale at Craven Shoals, 9 apr 0822.

Protected by a ring of coast guard and police boats, the whale cut safely across the Ambrose Channel and popped up by the excavator dredge J.P. Boisseau and tugs Thomas Witte and Meagan Ann while they were working at Rockaway Inlet.


Capt. Anthony of the dredge Michigan caught a photo of the popular visitor. The consensus: it was big, even though this one was only 30′. Humpback whales can reach 50′.


photograph by Anthony LoPresti

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation requests that should you spot a marine mammal (whale, dolphin, seal) or sea turtle, please call their 24-Hour Stranding Hotline: 631-369-9829, so their biologists can track them.


However, Right Whales, of which there are 300 left by NOAA’s estimation, is protected by federal law, and must be given a berth of 500 yards. A mandatory ship reporting system for North Atlantic Right Whales exists, and the information can be found in this link.peagreen

Thanks–in chronological order of events–Bill, Charlie, Tom and Anthony!

15 Responses

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  1. tugster said, on 2009/04/13 at 05:10

    you help make the 6th boro a sprinkle more magical. thank you. actually the whale channelled her thanks too, saying she just wanted to get a little attention, to be looked in the eye, to have her tailwave followed as she mesmerizes those all who admire her. whale unit 1, out

  2. John Edward Harris said, on 2009/04/13 at 07:11

    Great post. I continue to be fascinted by your watercolors. Shall we give this whale a name?

  3. tugster said, on 2009/04/13 at 08:13

    if she be given an english name, how about outlaw since i’m positive she has no twic

  4. tugster said, on 2009/04/13 at 11:48

    the turtles are quite the travelers. it’d be cool to blog/childbook the adventures of a tagged turtle . . . as you channel it. the riverhead site is a treasure!

  5. Mage Bailey said, on 2009/04/14 at 11:35

    I’m reading your notes and having a great time. Glad the whale made it. One of ours did, another didn’t.

  6. naveganteglenan said, on 2009/04/14 at 15:10

    I agree with John: fascinating watercolors of whales and charts 🙂

  7. Michael said, on 2009/04/14 at 15:26

    The Riverhead foundation does a great job…in the winter they rescue dolphins and such out east if they get iced in to a creek or small bay or are otherwise in distress.

    I still think someone should put out whale food for these guys (krill, giant squid, whatever) in an appropriate spot to encourage visits. Particularly for those Right whales, who could be getting lonely (or maybe they’re sick of seeing the same 300 big heads all the time?)
    Anyhow give them whatever they want, I say.

    • bowsprite said, on 2009/04/14 at 16:00

      PeconicPuffin! you are so funny!
      I can see the headlines now: Giant Squid In New York Harbor!

  8. John Paul XI said, on 2009/04/14 at 16:50

    Roger Payne, father of Laura, reports that the whale sings in “exuberant, uninterrupted rivers of sound”, music that rivals the best arias from Evita. The whales generally do not eat in the summer, unless tempted by a stir-fry of krill served from a wok the size of a Carnival Cruise Liner.

    Oops, got that backwards, they only eat in the summer.

  9. John Paul XI said, on 2009/04/14 at 19:18

    The watercolor map looks like the greatly feared ‘Dragon Duck’ (kill van hull is the lower lip, and the eye is just above the upper bay, Verrazano narrows bridge is the neck-ring that Dragon Duck still bears from it’s youth as a fisher’s aid on the Yangtze River (see The Story of Ping the Duck for further information on this practice)) who on occasion, rears his ugly head out of the water to display his fine holy crown and expel his fearsome quack, powerful enough to silence automobile alarms miles away.

  10. tugster said, on 2009/04/14 at 20:43

    hmmm… i was thinking it looked like a dancing woman . . . hail rorschach test.

    • bowsprite said, on 2009/04/14 at 20:48

      never tried rorschach, i’ll stick to my shrooms.

  11. Super Ads « tugster: a waterblog said, on 2011/02/05 at 09:16

    […] mentioning an increase in the numbers of large marine mammals congregating around the Narrows. Bowsprite, in fact, scooped this story nearly two years ago, with a foto from… of course … a working mariner.  And […]

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