GLOUCESTER (CBS) – Neighbors on Rocky Neck Avenue in Gloucester woke up to some unusual sounds.
“I woke up came downstairs and I could hear the flapping of his tail in the water and I had no idea what it was. I thought it was maybe a sea lion playing in the water,” Lisa Carlson said.
Carlson ran up to the seawall to get a closer look at what she realized was no sea lion at all. It was a whale.
Then it was time to spread the word.
“My neighbor looks in the screen and said, ‘Sue, do you know there’s a whale on your beach?’ and I said, ‘Are you kidding?’” Sue Fehrmann explained.
Fehrmann put her coffee down and rushed outside.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes there was a whale here, flopping around before the tide went out,” Fehrmann said.
Now, what was a crowd of neighbors, began to wonder if something was wrong with the whale and that’s why it was in Smith Cove.
“He looked like he was stuck so at first, I was looking for a fish net, a fish line or something but he looked like he was fine,” Carlson said.
“The head was stuck behind the rock,” Fehrmann said.
Neighbors knew time was running out and the tide was going to go out, so one of them jumped over onto the sand and moved the rock that was in the whale’s way.
“It was do or die,” Fehrmann said.
Just after moving that rock, Fehrmann said they saw the whale “shimmy it’s way and then it’s belly and shimmy, a U turn and everybody cheered.”
Whales have been seen a lot this summer, in Boston Harbor and also within sight of the shore of Hampton Beach, and one more close to Seabrook that nearly knocked a paddle boarder off his board.
Tony Lacasse of the New England Aquarium believes he knows why these whales are coming so close.
“We have a schooling fish called Menhaden, or locally it’s called bunker, that are really close to shore and in immense numbers, probably even bigger than we’ve seen in a while and those schools are reaching all the way from south of Boston all the way up to be New Hampshire line,” he said.
As for the Gloucester whale, believed to be a Minke whale, its rescuers know this was the best case scenario.
“It worked out for the best. The neighbors did get together and rescue it,” Fehrmann said.
NOAA says you should never touch a wild animal but neighbors are happy that the whale got away safely.