We just can’t stay off the boat. Last Friday, a lovely summer day, we were back on board the American Princess anticipating fun and marine adventure.
With earlier reports of whale and shark sightings, our captain steered us into new waters – instead of the Raritan Bay we headed to the Long Island coast, just a few miles off shore from Long Beach.
Cut the motors and just wait. But not for long!
We spotted the puff of spray from the blow hole just off the port side, followed by the dorsal fin. And the show began thanks to two cooperative Humpback Whales.
Captain Ahab had his white Sperm Whale, but the Humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) was the focus of Captain Kirk and crew in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.” While the movie focused on the extinction and reintroduction of this species, the truth isn’t far from fiction. According to the American Cetacean Society, Humpback Whales were still hunted into the 1970s despite worldwide legal protections, and today the total population is estimated at 30-35% below original numbers.
Measuring 40-50 feet in length and weighing 25-40 tons, Humpbacks are found in waters around the world. They spend summer in temperate and polar areas – like New York City – and migrate to tropical waters for winter. Great information about Humpbacks and other whles can be found on the American Cetacean Society’s website.
A special experience doesn’t even live up to the feelings amongst my fellow passengers. We were giddy and erupted in applause for the wonderful crew of the American Princess who have become ambassadors for our city’s marine life.