Manhattan got a parade of massive cartoon-character balloons on Thanksgiving morning. Long Beach, at about the same time, got a sea full of whales — of the live, non-inflatable variety.
The whales spouted, breached and shared the waters with surfers as well as boaters who were witnessing the spectacle.
Allison Blanchette, 43, had arrived about 9 a.m. to shoot photos of her boyfriend surfing but said she quickly shifted gears as she spotted at first one, and then as many as four whales at once, all cavorting in the waters off the beach near Lincoln Boulevard.
The day traditionally set aside for gratitude also led to a “feeling of extra thanks for being able to see such a spectacularly beautiful sight,” said Blanchette, a Long Beach resident who is executive director of Long Island Streets, a nonprofit group that advocates for cyclists and pedestrians.
As she was busy scanning for and snapping any number of whale pop-ups, she also heard occasional cheers from spectators on the boardwalk, expressing their delight.
“It was very cool,” with two hours of shooting seeming more like 20 minutes, Blanchette said.
Bob Arkow, 72, checked the Lincoln Boulevard web surf cam from home and saw a breaching whale, so he hustled right down to the beach with what he deemed to be humpbacks as his new photogenic quarry.
Once there, the Long Beach resident said the view was “whales wherever you looked, spouting and breaching,” some close by to surfers. He estimated five to seven whales.
It was “a beautiful day in Long Beach,” he said in a Facebook post. “There is much to be thankful for.”
While there was no known census Thursday as to what type of whales, Friday brought reports of around seven humpbacks in the Long Beach area, according to Paul L. Sieswerda, director of Staten Island-based Gotham Whale, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that encourages the public to submit photos and sighting information.
Friday’s report was from the group’s photographer and catalogue curator, who was aboard the American Princess, which runs whale and dolphin watch trips in affiliation with Gotham Whale, assisting in its data gathering mission.