new york harbor

Humpback Whale in New York Harbor: Monday 11/21 Update

Gale-force winds gusting 40 knots stirred up the harbor, making it difficult to locate the whale's occasional spout among whitecaps everywhere. Despite recent reports "off the Statue," "at the 1 Bouy" and "north of Governors Island," it took us over an hour to find the mammal. We finally spotted it south of Governors Island right around slack tide.

The whale swam west, crossing the shipping lane, and began surface feeding just east of the Statue of Liberty. Due to the adverse weather conditions we didn't see the whale as much as on previous days, making its path much less predictable.

Marine Mammal Researcher Kristi Ashley Collum from the American Museum of Natural History, who also collaborates with Gotham Whale, joined us on the escort. Kristi deployed a hydrophone off the boat to record the whale's vocalizations. 

For about an hour the whale swam in a north-south pattern along a 0.3-nautical mile transect of a shoal, surfacing about once a minute.

At 3:30pm the whale headed south towards the Jersey Flats and we returned to port.

Sea Smoke on the Hudson

A thick layer of sea smoke blanketed the lower Hudson River and upper bay this morning. It's one thing to see fog roll in, but to see tall wisps of steam waft up from the water is more rare and enchanting.

Sailors aboard the Zanabe had the perfect eye-level view of the phenomenon:

According to a paper by Woods Hole researchers, sea smoke occurs when very cold air comes into contact with warmer water -- and the difference in temperatures has to be in the range of at least 5 to 15 degrees Celsius. That's about 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Huge difference!

The water temperature at The Battery was 36F this morning, and the air temperature was -2F: the perfect differential for a stunning display.