October 14, 2010

Among Whales

This one's beside us and several more are straight ahead, and a few more are on our other side...




I think there are five whales in this shot--more than you really want in front of you.
The moment when I suggested that Maia should back away from the edge of the boat
They were hunted to near extinction and even today no one's certain just how many sperm whales are out there. They used to be known to travel in pods of up to 50 whales, with still other groups within their vocalization distancce (about 10km). But after they were hunted and their numbers diminished they were seldom seen in groups larger than twelve.

We really don't know how may we travelled through--at one point I counted 26, and that was after sailing through three distinct pods over four hours. But what we learned is sperm whales won't move out of our way. They are pretty unconcerned about where we are going and what we are doing. They seem to exist somewhere else. Maybe in an older version of the world where they ruled the seas.

We tacked through them though and did our best to keep clear. The punishment for getting too close was a strong wiff of rank whale breath. But the reward, ah, the reward...

2 comments:

John Maxwell said...

Wow.

Are they visible enough under the water that you can easily avoid them, when there's so many?

Diane, Evan and Maia said...

no. and they don't really make any effort to avoid you, either.