Beluga whales make a splash in Port

Carly Lanzkowsky, Contributing Writer

Over Memorial Day weekend, a pod of three beluga whales made a rare appearance in Manhasset Bay. This is particularly unusual because belugas are typically found in Arctic and sub-Arctic waters.
Beluga whales can be easily distinguished from other species of whales by their white coloring. They can grow up to twenty feet in length, which is considered small in comparison to other whales.
In spite of their size, there is no need to be frightened of these creatures; they are social and friendly animals, whose diets consist of fish, crustacean, and worms.
Unfortunately, the beluga whale is listed as a threatened species as a result of climate change and oil development. Therefore, its status is closely monitored by marine biologists.
The whales were first spotted in Naragansett Bay, Rhode Island on May 11, but they have made their way to the Long Island Sound. On their way to Manhasset Bay, the whales made a stop at Fairfield, Connecticut before coming to Port.
Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) say the belugas came all the way from Canada, specifically the St. Lawrence River, where they were seen two years ago.
The beluga whales covered nine-hundred twenty miles on their journey from Canada to Port Washington docks. The pod is thought to be a group of young males.
Whale lovers and community members alike were ecstatic about the sightings and had gathered around the docks in the hopes of seeing the pod.
Those watching the whales swim around the bay had to keep their distance, and local boating authorities ensured that boaters stayed at least 150 feet away. They made sure that there was no possibility of either the whales or the whale-watchers getting hurt.
The whales, however, were not aware that the rule applied to them too, and some of the friendlier whales approached nearby boats like the Water Taxi and the North Hempstead Bay Constable, allowing boaters to see them close up.
“I was really excited to hear about the whales in my town. Even though I wasn’t able to see the belugas first hand, just knowing that they were by the dock made me excited,” said junior Sammy Segal.
Since Memorial Day weekend, hundreds have gathered around Manhasset Bay and were able to go whale watching, a treat for any animal enthusiast in the area.
The news of the whales’ arrival brought several television stations to Port Washington, where various residents were interviewed for ABC News and News 12 Long Island. The whales definetely stirred up alot of excitement among port residents.