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Humpback Whales Make A Splash Off Rockaway Shores

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TWC News: Humpback Whales Make A Splash Off Rockaway Shores
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Residents in the Rockaways had plenty to spout off about this weekend when they saw humpback whales just offshore. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Humpback whales put on a show for anyone near the Rockaways to see this weekend.

Bobby Leonard, his brother and his father normally fish off the coast, but they spent Friday using a button camera from their spy store and other cameras to catch images.

"When the whale came down, we actually got wet standing on the boat," Leonard said. "That's how close it was."

Marine biologists said the whales are feeding in the area and they normally migrate up an down the east coast.

"There are whales in our waters whether they be closer to shore or not," said Robert DiGiovanni, director of the Riverhead Foundation. "That varies from season to season."

On the beach, Rockaway residents are used to seeing wildlife and domesticated life. But they're not used to seeing things like this.

"I'm in the zoo. I've never seen whales like that," said one person.

On Sunday, crowds gathered near Beach 106th Street to watch. Many took pictures.

"Everyone was standing at the concession stand going 'ooh,' 'ah,'" said one person. "There were a million of them out here popping out of the water."

"All I would see is the blow holes and water shooting out," said another. "I think it's pretty cool. I've never really seen a whale right outside my house."

Leonard said he shot video just a few hundred yards from shore.

"It makes you feel like you're on vacation someplace. It's surreal that that's actually happening right next to you," he said. "I wanted to jump in the water and touch it."

Marine biologists say don't do that. They say to stay at least 50 yards away from the whales for your safety and theirs, and because going closer is against the law.

Residents can report whale sightings to 631-369-9829. especially if the whales seem to be in distress.

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