"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Loneliest Whale in the World

If you know me well (or even, probably just a little bit) you probably know that I'm scared of whales. I think they are the most creepy, scary, terrifying, massively unnerving creatures. I sometimes have nightmares that I'm in a circular pool of black water and there's whales circling around me and so close to me (because of the shallow water) that they're almost, but not quite, touching me as they swim just below the surface. That terrifies me just recounting it. (The last time my imagination gave me a rope ladder type of thing that I kept trying to climb out of the pool with. But it was wet and stretching out and I couldn't climb fast enough. But I appreciated my sleeping brain's efforts to rescue me.)  

That's might as well be Jonah (minus the snorkel gear...)

I typed in "whales" in google to find you a photo of how terrifying whales are, and immediately saw the one above. I thought "Hey, that's like the whale that ate Jonah and Pinnochio!" And to prove my point, here is the blurb that came from the website where this photo was found (I think the author is a pastor of some sort which makes this all the more funny): 

Advice for Swallowees from the BBC Website
Once inside, sit tight and try not to touch anything if at all possible. Escape from the belly of a whale, aside from simple survival, may be far more difficult as the majority of whales – especially the Baleen whales that rely on sieving minuscule marine life forms for their diet – have complex digestive systems. There is also the constant intake of seawater that results from their feeding processes. Unless someone is looking for you, or you have a very large cutting implement and a strong stomach, you may have to be satisfied with simply surviving until starvation takes you or good fortune saves the day.
If all else fails you might consider using pepper or a small fire to smoke your way out.

It should be known I blame both of those stories for my fear. And all the Free Willy movies. I'm pretty sure we saw at least one of those in a theater. How is anyone NOT terrified of them after watching them on a huge screen for an hour and a half? 

Did you know Killer Whales are the only whales that eat their cousins
(a certain type of dolphin)? Evil creatures.  (via)

Anyways, you're probably wondering about the loneliest whale in the world, and why I would care since that implies I have some sort of empathy towards a mammal that causes me much grief. It turns out that I'm SO empathetic (probably to the point of a character flaw at times) that I can even feel extremely sorry for whales. Thanks to a post on Facebook, I read an article about a whale whose voice is at such a high frequency (52 Hertz to be exact, which coincidentally, those clever scientists have also named him) that it actually repels other whales. 

It's frequency is equivalent to one of the lowest notes on a tuba (which creeps me out because then I feel like we would just normally be able to hear it in the water maybe!? Without science instruments!? No thanks. Their sounds make my skin crawl). So this poor guy (of an unknown species--maybe a hybrid of two whales, or the last/first of a new species?) has been tracked since 1992 (known of since about '89) and wanders the ocean alone. To make matters worse, not only does 52 Hertz scare off all other whales by his lack of effective communication, he follows a different migration route than everyone else! This guy can't get a break! 

So it makes me feel just awful that he's been alone his entire life, and will continue to be. He just swims and drifts along, calling out constantly and never hears a reply. I'm hoping that the fact that his voice is deepening a bit as he ages is a silver lining--perhaps he'll eventually hit the 15-25 hertz range that the other whales communicate within and find some friends in his golden years. Either that or I hope he has a very active imagination. 

For some more info: go here (particularly funny) and here.

And finally, even I found this photo to be hilarious, even though the article surrounding it is not at all, and actually quite sad. (I find them terrifying, but I don't support the hunting/killing of them.) 

Come on. That's funny. 


  1. Oh Meg, this cracks me up! Baleen whales are so gentle, and as I tell my little kids who are afraid of bats: Unless you think you look like krill (a banana in the case of the bats), you are totally safe. ;o)

    I believe you need a prescription for a day of sitting at an aquarium and watching baby Beluga whales swim around until you are in love!

  2. Lol I don't believe that I look like krill. But there's just something about then that are so creepy! I think it's the shape. I can't handle submarines either haha.


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