Some whale watchers witnessed a beautiful act of loyal friendship while out on a vessel off the coast of Long Island recently.
Christine Callaghan, a guide with Pirate’s Cove whale cruises, was with her crew members when they came upon a humpback whale tangled in fishing line and unable to swim, an unfortunately common occurrence. The entangled whale was one Callaghan had seen in the waters often, named Foggy, and she recognized Foggy’s loyal friend as Grommet, another “regular” on whale watching tours. Callaghan described what she saw on the Pirate’s Cove Facebook page:
“[Foggy] had rope wrapped around her head and across her blowholes, and as we carefully approached, we could see that she also had a loop of rope across her peduncle (the narrow part of her tail, just ahead of the flukes), dragging a mass of old lobster traps beneath her. She was listing to one side with the weight of all the gear.”
Callaghan marveled over Grommet’s concern, never leaving Foggy’s side. “I will challenge anyone who claims that humans are the only intelligent, empathetic animals,” Callaghan wrote.
Callaghan and her team awaiting assistance from the Whale Disentanglement Crew, who were able to cut the ropes off of Foggy’s body. And then came a grateful jump for joy from Grommet.
“Now comes the truly amazing thing,” Callaghan wrote. “The instant the rope came off Foggy’s head, Grommet dove, and then burst from the water in a spectacular breach! Tell me that wasn’t a celebration!”
The two humpback whales were last seen swimming off into the bay together.
Photo credit: Pirate’s Cove Whale & Seabird Cruises