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New York City was visited by nine different whales in one day and the photos are amazing

New York’s harbors are the cleanest they’ve been in over 100 years.

whales new york

This is postcard-worthy.

People often pay to go on whale watching tours in hopes of mayyyyybe catching a single glimpse of a tail splashing the water—if they’re lucky.

On August 13, however, folks in New York City got the whale watching cruise of a lifetime as they were able to witness not one, not two, but NINE whales swimming in the harbor.

While onboard a tour with American Princess Cruises, Celia Ackerman, who works as a naturalist for the company, captured multiple breathtaking photos of the creatures with a view of New York’s skyline as the backdrop.

Here’s just one of the beauties:

gotham whales twitter, 9 whales new yorkGorgeous!All images taken by Celia Ackerman, used with permission from Gotham Whale

Ackerman is also a research associate for Gotham Whale, a marine mammal research, education and advocacy organization. Gotham Whale tweeted the images not only to let others join in on nature’s spectacle, but also to raise awareness and avoid potential collisions.

“Amazing day to say the least,” Gotham Whale’s caption read.

This once-in-a-lifetime sighting might be less of a miracle and more a result of concerted efforts to clean New York’s waters. Back in 2019, the New York Post cited a study that showed New York’s harbors were the purest they’ve been in nearly 110 years, not since “Albert Einstein had just published his theory of relativity,” according to the Post article. This was largely due to the Clean Water Act of 1972, in addition to volunteer environmental groups, according to the article.

Cleaner water means more fish, and more fish means a whale buffet. Not to mention some amazing photos:

whales new york, new york harbor, gotham whales

Breach incoming!

Celia Ackerman

“Something else to make your heart happy!” someone commented alongside a blue whale emoji.

whale sightings, whale cruise new york

What's not to love about this photo?

Celia Ackerman

This is the stuff fairy tales are made of y'all.

whales new york

Over-whale-mingly cool.

Celia Ackerman

Hands down, most successful whale watching cruise ever. No question.

new york harbor whales, cecilia ackerman twitter

One fish, two fish…

Celia Ackerman

These whales gave a water show and everything (see below):

gotham whales twitter

We're in the splash zone.

Celia Ackerman

There’s even a video of three breaching whales from the same day, shared by science and health reporter Aaron Tremper.

“I would’ve been screaming. This is so magical!” wrote one person.

Of course, the new-and-improved coastline is not only attracting whales. On August 8, 2022, two sharks were spotted off a beach in Queens, New York. And there were 15 shark sightings in one day the previous week, according to ABC7 New York. However, shark attacks are still quite rare.

I know what you’re thinking—where are the dolphins?! Don’t worry, Ackerman found some of those, too.

Like this Clymene dolphin below, whose most well-known party trick is spinning while jumping out of the water.

whale spotting new york, new york whales

He's auditioning for the "Flipper" reboot.

Celia Ackerman

These images come as a respite after 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.” Her death was considered by many to be an avoidable act of cruelty, brought on by human negligence. However, the walrus named after a Norse goddess of love aptly still commands reverence by her followers, who have started a fundraiser to erect a statue in her honor.

We don’t always do right by our animal friends. But when we do, it shows. New York’s impromptu whale party is literal living proof of that. Finally, some good news about growing traffic!

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