2007_04_whale.jpgYesterday, WNBC's Chopper 4 captured footage of a minke whale swimming in the Gowanus CanalBay. Minke whales are a suborder of baleen whales, which rise to the surface the way this whale does.

Chopper 4 reporter Dan Rice told us, "It was hard to see the whale under water because it is so brown. But about every 60 to 90 seconds it would surface for air and dive again." He added, "Almost looked like it was playing with the Coast Guard zodiac." [Zodiac is a kind of boat.] Cute, except given Gowanus Lounge's belief that sewage has seeped into the canal post-Nor'easter, we're worried. And, in a clear tribute to Carvel's Fudgie the Whale as well as the Gowanus's conditions, the Daily News (and NY1) calls this whale "Sludgie."

The Riverhead Foundation's rescue program director Kim Durham says, "This is definitely not a place for a whale to be," and adds that they will continue monitoring Sludgie's behavior. She also asks people to call 631-369-9829 if the whale is seen outside the Gowanus.

John Quadrozzi, who spotted a harp seal in 2003 (battered and bloodied, yet still alive, in the Gowanus), was the first to spot the whale. He told Newsday, "Originally, we thought he was a porpoise. Then we could see he was much bigger." His 5-year-old daughter had her opinion: "She said, 'There's no whales in the water, Daddy.' Then it came up. She can go tell people she was whale watching in Brooklyn." Indeed - the Daily News reported others turned to catch a glimpse - did you?