On October 17, 2015, The Metropolitan Society of Natural Historians embarked on its first whale watching trip. At 12pm, members of the society set sail aboard the American Princess into the Rockaway waters. Our trip leader and Cetologist, Carine Galvão, discussed a number of interesting facts about a variety of whales and dolphins, including behaviors, morphology and tips on spotting them.
To everyone's excitement, we spotted a humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, emerging for air not far from Long Beach. Unconcerned by us, the whale allowed us to approach rather close, and at one point it breached the water not more than 20 feet away! We were even lucky enough to witness it lunge feed several times.
Leading the boat ride was Paul Sieswerda, head of the non-profit Gotham Whale. In addition to educating the public, Paul uses the rides to serve as a citizen scientist, studying marine life and collecting information that expands the amount of available knowledge. His trips through the NYC waterways are similar to our previous events of horseshoe crab and bird counts. For more information, visit his group's website or their Facebook page.
For more photos of this event, please visit our gallery.