Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 5: Whale Watching!

Pictures By: Janelle Bean
Event: ES141 Whale Watch
Departure from: Boston Harbor Long Wharf

*I apologize that the pictures are so small, there were a lot of them so this was the easiest way to get them up. This isn't even all the pictures either! If you click on them you should get a new tab with a closer view :)

**While scanning through the pictures take note of the different tail fins and the difference in some of the exposed dorsal fins as well. One for example you can tell is the dorsal fin of an older whale, because up close you can see the fin has some scratches, perhaps caused by something like a passing boat? Either way enjoy!

I had a great time experiencing the whale watch with my fellow classmates Thursday. I had been whale watching before, off the coast of Newburyport I believe, but each time is different. Some of the highlights of our class whale watching trip were....

- The whales turning in the water and showing it's fin.
- The three whales together (apparently a rare occurrence for these loners).
- The whales breaching!

Out of all these I would have to say that seeing the whales breaching was easily my favorite part of the experience. I felt like I was 6 years old and watching Free Willy all over again. It was one of those moments that makes you realize just how majestic these creatures are... I guess that ties in to why I feel they shouldn't be hunted. There's just something about whales that makes me more empathetic toward them. It could be that we're both mammals and therefore closer related in the web of life. In a way it makes sense, after all it does mean that we are similar in the way we both carry our children, give birth to them and then take care of them until they are old enough to survive on their own. In this way it makes them seem more humane and thus more like humans. Whales are also smart creatures. As Professor Berman mentioned in class, you can communicate with a whale in the way that you can understand what they are feeling at times through their eyes and their behavior. Just the other day, there was an excerpt on the news about how whale watchers had found a humpback whale which they initially thought to be dead. That was until after a forceful rush of air from it's blow hole. At that point one of the men went in the water to see what was wrong. They soon discovered the whole whale was tied down in nylon fishing lines. It's pectoral fins were held down to it's side and the tail of the creature was also entangled and held down. Trapped, tangled and dying, the whale continued to toss and turn while the kind men tried to cut the ropes. The whale decided to try and swim away and tugged the boat about a half mile before finally tiring out. Once the whale had stopped the men quickly continued to cut the ropes off. This process repeated a few more times before they successfully untangled the whale. The whale was so excited that it rushed off and breached at least 40 times while in view of the men and they say that the tail of the whale flapped a few times on it's final dive, as if waving good bye to the men. The rescuers will tell you that the whale was putting on a show for them out of pure liberating excitement, if not gratitude. Whether that is truly what the whale meant we will never know, but it does suggest that the whale was trying to communicate some message, whatever it may have been. The link to the webpage on the news is below, and underneath it is also the specific youtube video link by The Great Whale Conservancy on the story through the whale watchers personal footage. It's a great story and I recommend those of you who have 10 min. to spare to watch the video.

Webpage article on story:

Youtube link:

As a result of miracle stories like the one mentioned above and the beauty and maternal instincts of these animals~along with the fact that I highly doubt we would be able to control the fishermen and whale-hunters if we ever did allow the public to hunt these creatures~I feel it is wrong to hunt them and believe they should be protected.

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