The Hamptons Police Department Marine Patrol and Office of Fish & Game received multiple calls from local boaters and beachgoers reporting sightings of a rare pink blue whale this week. After a brief internal inquiry, however, investigators learned that people had not seen the endangered marine mammal, normally found in the Atlantic Ocean off eastern Guyana and Brazil, near the mouth of the Amazon River. The “whale” in question was actually the Hamptons Police Department Submarine Unit painted pink.
HPD spokesman Larry Hirsch explained that the department recently gave its Virginia-class nuclear submarine, Jaws VIII, a shiny new coat of pink paint to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Hirsch sent out an alert on Tuesday, explaining the situation and warning residents, “Don’t freak out about pink blue whales. The chance of seeing one in our waters is, believe it or not, even more slim than seeing a legit nuclear submarine, even a pink one, but most locals know this by now.”
Created when an Amazon pink river dolphin and a blue whale mate, pink blue whales are among the scarcest of creatures. Pink dolphins typically grow to about 8 feet in length and 400 pounds, while blue whales—the world’s largest animal—reach 100 feet long and 200 tons, Hirsch says in the alert, adding, “So you can see why this doesn’t happen very often.” He also pointed out that Virginia-class nuclear submarines are 377 feet long.
Jaws VIII will be dry docked for the winter starting on December 1, and Hirsch says it will remain pink all the way through Breast Cancer Awareness Month, from October 1–31, and the month of November. “Then we’ll figure out how to remove this paint in time for summer 2020.”
If you see the submarine, or even if you don’t, now is a good time to donate to the fight against breast cancer. Give to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation at bcrf.org, the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund—which is seeking to end the disease by January 1, 2020—at breastcancerdeadline2020.org, or find another national or local organization, like the Coalition of Women’s Cancers at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, cwcshh.org.