Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Whale Wonder - Tubercles

photo credit: J.G. Brouwer

Whale encounters are always awe inspiring. Folks from afar flock here for such opportunities provided by local whale watching companies. Fishermen often have whale encounters that provide a pleasant pause to a long days work. Unfortunately, some encounters are less rewarding.
I have had many pleasurable encounters but will never forget the morning when I ran offshore from Langara Island in the pre-dawn night to be on the spot for some prime time chinook fishing. I sat steering while sipping coffee and tying hoochies. With one red eye on the sounder and the other on the radar screen during the hour + run out from the harbour, there didn't appear to be much of interest in the darkness. As dawn began to break I slowed the boat to trolling speed, woke up the crew and headed outside to the cockpit to set my gear. Behind my boat the flat calm ocean looked like a pot of oatmeal boiling in honey as the spouts of more sleeping humpback whales that I could count spread back to a horizon being set afire by the rising sun. That encounter was enhanced by the knowledge that not many people would ever be fortunate enough to have a whale watching experience like that. By the time my sleepy crew hit the deck, the sun was up and the whales were spreading out and beginning to sound for their breakfast. The magic of the moment had passed.
Part of my astonishment comes from wondering about these creatures; their anatomy and biology. I was reminded of my encounter and am now even more astonished by these leviathans after coming across this interesting bit of information from Dr. Frank Fish about why a humpback's flipper is shaped the way it is. Check for yourself at;

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