Thursday, April 17, 2014

Watching Whales

Provincetown Harbor
Last weekend, I was in Provincetown, MA, for The Whale Naturalist Workshop with Dalvero Academy. The incredibly informative and eye-opening 3-day-long event ended with a whale watching voyage. We saw so many whales, even a Humpback mother & child duo, also hundreds of dolphins, who like to swim alongside whales. If you spot dolphins, it's a clue to look for a whale. A WHALE. The biggest animal on this planet, and most mysterious. At any given moment, only a small part is visible above and between the waves. 

Passing Provincetown lighthouse, as we sail into deep waters.

First, you see a spout. Then, if the whale is nearby, there's this horse-like "Phfrrrr" sound, and a black curve of the spine rises from beneath the waves. It arches up and disappears in a few seconds, and whale's fluke comes up and slowly completes it's own arch, propelling the whale into a deep dive.

Humpback Whales: Mother and 6-month-old child.

As I watch, time actually slows down: few long seconds of the sighting is all I have with these magnificent creatures. The movements are permanently etched in my memory.

A group of dolphins, swimming alongside a whale.
View of Provincetown and its Pilgrim Monument (tower) from the water.

You can also see Veronica Lawlor's beautiful post about this trip here>

Before coming to this conference, I had no idea just how much whales and other large marine animals suffer from the byproducts of our civilization. People who presented at the Workshop are dedicating their lives to studying, cataloging, protecting and saving them, as well as educating the public about harsh realities that are not covered by media. But more on that in another post. 

The Whale Naturalist Workshop was co-hosted by the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, the Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown, and the WDC (Whale and Dolphin Conservation) group.


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