Thar She Blows

Whale Watch, Bar Harbor, Maine

If not for some Dramamine, the title of this post would have had an entirely different meaning. We’re not generally prone to seasickness, but traveling at 35 miles per hour over 10 foot swells was a new experience for both of us. And not an altogether pleasant one, either. We managed to hold it together, though, until the boat finally slowed, nearly an hour later, at a common whale feeding area.

Whale Watch, Bar Harbor MaineThis was our first whale watch and we soon discovered what we probably should have known all along: whales have higher priorities than entertaining humans. So it wasn’t as much of a whale watch, as it was a whale wait. These wily creatures can stay submerged for a long time and generally only come up for a couple of breaths before diving deeply again, only to reemerge a long distance from where they were last spotted. We did see several of the beasties, though, including a mother and a calf swimming and diving in unison.

You wouldn’t know it, but I took a couple hundred photographs during our three hour tour. Either because of inadequate equipment or, um, inadequate skills, I mostly captured open ocean and images more suitable for Lock Ness Monster evidence than for enjoyable viewing. But what you see above is a finback whale, the second largest living animal, second in size only to the blue whale.

These critters are not only large, but are also incredibly fast. For a long while their speed helped them evade hunters. But our creativity knows no bounds, and we soon discovered that exploding harpoons slow them down enough to kill them. And we did, by the hundreds of thousands in the early 20th century. We harvested so many that we nearly hunted them to extinction. They’re still listed as endangered today, and so it was our good fortune to see them, and their calves, happily, and safely, at sea.

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  1. Yin and Yang at Manatee Springs | Everywhere Once - October 25, 2011

    […] come up to expose their snouts for a deep breath before submerging again. It was a bit like our whale watching tour, only without the […]

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