The harbors of New York are the cleanest they’ve been in over a century.
People frequently pay to go on whale watching tours in the hopes of catching a glimpse of a tail splashing in the water—if they’re lucky.
NINE. 9. nine. So many whales saying it once doesn’t seem like enough! Breaching whales and whales swimming in tandem and whales interacting with dolphins. All of this with sights of NYC & the harbor in the background. Amazing day to say the least. pic.twitter.com/YLnEDEpB4G— Gotham Whale (@gothamwhale) August 14, 2022
On August 13, however, residents of New York City were treated to a whale-watching cruise of a lifetime, as they witnessed not one, not two, but NINE whales swimming in the harbor.
Celia Ackerman, an American Princess Cruises naturalist, captured multiple breathtaking photos of the creatures with the New York skyline as the backdrop while on a tour with the company.
Here’s just one of the lovely things:
Ackerman also works as a research associate for Gotham Whale, a nonprofit organization dedicated to marine mammal research, education, and advocacy. Gotham Whale shared the images on Twitter not only to allow others to enjoy nature’s spectacle but also to raise awareness and avoid potential collisions.
“Amazing day to say the least,” wrote Gotham Whale in his caption.
This once-in-a-lifetime sighting could be the result of concerted efforts to clean up New York’s waters, rather than a miracle. The New York Post reported in 2019 that a study found that New York’s harbors were the cleanest they’d been in nearly 110 years, not since “Albert Einstein had just published his theory of relativity,” according to the Post article. According to the article, this was largely due to the Clean Water Act of 1972 as well as volunteer environmental groups.
More fish means a whale buffet, and more fish means cleaner water. Not to mention some incredible photographs:
Someone commented with a blue whale emoji, “Something else to make your heart happy!”
This is the stuff that fairy tales are made of, you guys.
This was, without a doubt, the most successful whale-watching cruise ever.
Aaron Tremper, a science and health reporter, even shared a video of three breaching whales from the same day.
“I would’ve been screaming. This is so magical!” wrote one person.
Following the news that Freya, a walrus in Norway who captured hearts by sunbathing in various boats, was euthanized by authorities after being declared a “threat to human safety,” these images provide some relief. Many people saw her death as an avoidable act of cruelty caused by human negligence. The walrus named after a Norse goddess of love, on the other hand, is still revered by her followers, who have started a fundraiser to erect a statue in her honor.
We don’t always treat our animal companions with respect. But when we do, it’s obvious. The impromptu whale party in New York is literal proof of this.
Of course, the new and improved coastline is attracting more than just whales. Two sharks were spotted off the coast of Queens, New York, on August 8, 2022. According to ABC7 New York, there were 15 shark sightings in one day the previous week. Shark attacks, on the other hand, are still uncommon.
You’re probably wondering, “Where are the dolphins?” Don’t worry, Ackerman discovered some of them as well.
Such as this Clymene dolphin, whose most famous party trick is spinning while jumping out of the water.