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Mother Whale Introduces Her Baby
March 20, 2012 11:44 PM   Subscribe


 
Ha, that was awesome! But it looks more like the title of the video should be "rambunctious baby whale quickly scampers up on mother's noggin to see what the crazy people are doing".
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 11:57 PM on March 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


I was about to type something about how annoying the people were, all yelling and whatnot. Then I thought about how I might feel in that situation, and I decided to give them a pass.

But if any whales are reading this and want to come over so I can touch them, I promise to be very quiet and very gentle. (Way quieter than those annoying people)
posted by Ducks or monkeys at 12:00 AM on March 21, 2012 [38 favorites]


In my country they would be arrested. There's like a 100metre no-go zone around any whale. Lovely footage, but STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THE WHALES DUDES!
posted by taff at 12:26 AM on March 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


It looks to me like the whale went over to them, taff.
posted by merelyglib at 12:30 AM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


From the YouTube description:

Whale watching here is highly regulated, with limits on how many boats can be on the water, how long they can stay, and how close they can get; rather than closely approaching the whales, they must idle their engine and wait for the whales to approach the vessel, which is a common occurrence.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 12:32 AM on March 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


As per the video description, the boats are heavily regulated and are not allowed to approach the whales, but the whales often approach to boats in search of interaction.

I would be incredibly nervous of the whale coming under the boat and tipping it over.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 12:32 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just knew the fella in the middle would do some kind of "hell yeah, dude" type thing to camera at the end.

All whale videos with calves being lifted out of the water end this way.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:42 AM on March 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sounds like similar laws to here Australian law..... just looked them up. But 100 meters is a long distance. Are we really convinced that they were that far away and the whales just went up to them? From 100 metres away? I understand their enthusiasm, but I don't think their behaviour was in the best interest of the animals.

That said, they didn't eat them. There's that I guess.
posted by taff at 12:42 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's pretty awesome. I think I'd have trouble containing myself if I was in one of those boats too.
posted by Gator at 12:55 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I could only make it about 30 seconds before the yelling lady drove me away. I have to ask: Did the whale eat her?
posted by dirigibleman at 12:59 AM on March 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


dirigibleman, I turned the volume off about 15 seconds in. [SPOILER] nobody gets eaten, or has their boat stove in, or gets harpooned.
Sorry.
posted by merelyglib at 1:07 AM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


But 100 meters is a long distance. Are we really convinced that they were that far away and the whales just went up to them? From 100 metres away?

Yeah, you're probably right, taff. That would be an awfully long way for a whale to swim, just out of curiosity.

Get over your indignant need to incriminate people loving animals.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:30 AM on March 21, 2012 [12 favorites]


taff, those whales get as big as 16 meters. If we assume that's a small one, at 10 meters, that would be about like you walking 36 feet to see something unusual. You can probably do that without even leaving your house.
posted by Malor at 1:37 AM on March 21, 2012


Boy, I dunno where my brain went there. 60 feet, not 36. Not quite in your house, unless you live in a large one, but probably in your driveway.
posted by Malor at 1:38 AM on March 21, 2012


In another country
With another name
Maybe things are different
Maybe they're the same
posted by Devonian at 1:46 AM on March 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Whales cause orgasms. Now we have proof.
posted by alex_skazat at 1:47 AM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here in Canada it si sillegal to haras chase or hunt whales, but human interaction with them is less restricted than in the U.S.. There are only Guidelines for responsible whale watching, which operators are "encouraged" to comply with. It's a major tourist activity, and whales are certainly common enough that it's not considered unusual in the boating community to spot pods of whales.

There is some controversy surrounding such whale-human interactions, with concerns about them becoming over-habituated to humans, and a safety hazard to both the whales and humans. Personally, I have long had a policy to not deliberately maneuver closer to them; but they are naturally curious creatures, and will approach your vessel, as seen in this video. This is especially true when under sail, as the absence of engine noise likely disturbs them less.

The strangest whale behaviour I've personally witnessed was on my sail-board in English Bay, when I spotted a lone Orca heading into the harbour. No one on shore believed me when I landed, but the wind-surfing club's regular photographer had managed to capture a spectacular picture with a long lens of the whale breaching, with the high-rises in the West End in the background. It made the front page of the Vancouver Sun the next day, and launched her commercial photography career. Turns out that this is more common than one would think. Here is a far less spectacular example of this behaviour, and in this shot the whale is just off Siwash Rock in Stanley Park, making it difficult to maintain the recommended distance for mariners headed into the inner harbour.

The disagreement between those think that whales should be left alone, and those who believe that such encounters are a valuable economic activity which can teach respect for marine mammals was brought into sharp focus when a lost whale was more or less adopted by the residents of Nootka Sound, which ended sadly.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:55 AM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Magnificent creatures! Seems odd to me, though, that a mother whale would allow (and perhaps even encourage) her calf to interact with other animals. My mother grew up on a typical American small farm, and when she speaks about the interactions she had with most of those animals, she always seems to add the caveat, "but you didn't dare go near the pigs, horses, etc. if they had babies with them."
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 2:45 AM on March 21, 2012


Not to bring the party down, but what did he say about the whale's blowhole? Because (and I haven't had my coffee) I heard, 'did you see the lice in the blowhole?' Or maybe he said lichen. I really hope he said lichen. Or ice. Anything but lice.
posted by angrycat at 2:47 AM on March 21, 2012


That was so weird for me, I thought this was a programme for developmentally challenged adults to interact with Whales in the wild from the tenor of the reactions. Like the Children with special needs swimming with Dolphins programmes. I'm not snarking, I reviewed the segment when I read all your comments because clearly I was wrong.
Beautiful animals.
posted by Wilder at 2:49 AM on March 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Marine Mammal Mother Meets Muppets

I don't mean to snark either, and I get being excited, but WTF with the Miss Piggy screaming ...
posted by iotic at 3:21 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whales cause orgasms. Now we have proof.

Mournful dongs of the sea.
posted by Beardman at 3:51 AM on March 21, 2012


Anything but lice.

He did say lice. Just DO NOT google whale lice like I did!
posted by orme at 4:26 AM on March 21, 2012


It looks to me like the whale went over to them, taff.

Whales know the law.
posted by mattoxic at 4:40 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cool video.

I met a whale in Byron Bay and it was amazing. Its true about the Laws - you cant approach a Cetacean within about 300 metres, but if they come to you, its different. When I met a whale, a juvenile Humpback, he or she definitely came to see us. Our Boat was piloted by Marine Biologists, used to tourists, and it was just one of those things where I was lucky - on the right day on the right boat and the juvenile whale came to us to say hello.

I will never forget it and mercifully my tour group were mostly introverted Swiss and other Australians who know how to shut up...
posted by evil_esto at 4:44 AM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Based on the description I thought it would be a mother whale throwing her calf up in the air. Like, an assisted whale leap or something. The actual video was still cool, but not nearly as awesome as the one I first imagined.

I would be incredibly nervous of the whale coming under the boat and tipping it over.

"Aww, look at that whale! And it's coming over to us, yay! Wait, are those frickin laser beams on its head? Shit, turn the boat ar-"
posted by kmz at 4:52 AM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


whale lice

Yep pretty nasty.
posted by rahnefan at 4:56 AM on March 21, 2012


I too checked out the lice. Now I feel itchy all over.

Nathaniel Philbrick's excellent "In The Heart of the Sea" discusses the whale oil business in depth. These astonishing, intelligent creatures were used for fuel until petrochemicals supplanted their oil in the 19th century, and were harvested in numbers difficult to grasp. Even now the taking of whales remains a contentious issue. Plus it appears fairly certain that extensive use of waterborne sonar by the military is a primary cause of cetacean strandings and deaths due to trauma.

We've yet to fully understand whales' role on our planet, or the damage we've done and continue to do to them.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:12 AM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Are we really convinced that they were that far away and the whales just went up to them? From 100 metres away?

These huge beasts swim across the Pacific Ocean. 100 meters is like you reaching for something on your coffee table.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:18 AM on March 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wow, tough crowd. I maintain that if you kept a distance of 100 metres between yourself and the whale, and moved your vessel if the whale approached you, that would be both the legal and ethical thing to do.(Because the skipper should be alert and at the helm at all times around a potentially dangerous and unpredicatable animal.) I'ts certainly far enough to have notice to move.

Screaming like a banshee in front of an animal that has ultrasonic hearing is cruel and not loving or respectful, regardless of motivation for the scream. Screaming like that in front of someone who is recording you and putting it on youtube.... just bloody idiotic.

And kissing the whale???? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Yuck, people germs.
posted by taff at 5:22 AM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been in a 15 foot boat when a school-bus sized gray whale surfaced nearby. Several times (Bowheads too.) In open arctic waters.

It is an awesome experience. However, you should try to stay as quiet as possible. Last thing you want is a freaked out 40 ton whale underneath you in water cold enough to kill you in a minute if you went in.
posted by spitbull at 5:28 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Have a safe journey north, kid. Hope to see you when you swim by.
posted by Danf at 5:35 AM on March 21, 2012


She's not raising her kid right if she doesn't teach it to fear and avoid boats and the animals they carry.
posted by Trurl at 5:54 AM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Screaming like a banshee in front of an animal that has ultrasonic hearing is cruel
Oh, come on.

It's quite easy to swim out to dolphins here on the midatlantic coast of the US. They usually ignore humans, but I've gotten within 6 feet or so, have had the (surprisingly large) animals surface 6 feet away to check me out. It's impossible not to exclaim something in that situation.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:03 AM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are 20,000 Gray whales in the eastern Pacific, and 6 billion of us. That means that there is one whale for every 300,000 people.

It would be probably a full-time job for the whales to wait around while its allocation of human being lined up or whatever for every human being to get their rightful chance to pet their whale, which, according to some in this thread, human beings are entitled to do.

Yeah, sure, interspecies ebony and ivory blah blah blah, but give me a break. Just leave the whales alone.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:09 AM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shut up lady, and don't touch the whale. How disrespectful. Why can't people just enjoy a powerful moment silently? The guys were practically shoving each other out of the way just to touch it.
posted by ReeMonster at 6:12 AM on March 21, 2012


Screaming like a banshee in front of an animal that has ultrasonic hearing is cruel

I do not think that word means what you think it means.
posted by aught at 6:16 AM on March 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


every human being to get their rightful chance to pet their whale, which, according to some in this thread, human beings are entitled to do.

I'm pretty confident when I say that no one has argued this. Possibly in the entirety of human history, but definitely not in this thread.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:20 AM on March 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


We went whale watching a couple of years ago, out to the Farallones. There were a number of humpback whales feeding in the area. The captain cut the engine and we just sat there for a while.

Some whales came up to our boat. They swam around us and under us. I was standing alone at the stern when three of them surfaced, and they looked at me. Just looked, the way I was looking at them. It was a surreal and beautiful moment.

And whale breath smells terrible.
posted by rtha at 6:20 AM on March 21, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm always struck by how often nature shows off the fact that some of its biggest creatures are also among the most tempermentally benign. In the dog world, for example, St Bernards and Newfoundlands are among the biggest breeds going and yet (the movie's Cujo notwithstanding) are big sloppy teddy bears around kids. In our neighbourhood there is a Newfoundland that I have seen being walked at the end of a leash held by a kid about a quarter its size, yet the mobile mountain of black fur has never displayed so much as an iota of anything but sloppy (have you seen these things drool?!) placidness.

And here you have these marine leviathans -- who with barely a passing thought could crush these people and their boat like bugs -- not only coming up for a friendly visit, but a mother urging her calf to get even closer! ("Maybe they'll stop harpooning us if we show them we come in peace.")

This is apropos of nothing. I just enjoyed the clip and you can bet I'd be one of those just screaming like a girl at a close encounter like that and the opportunity to pet a whale!

Sorry Greenpeace, but it's part of what makes me people.
posted by Mike D at 6:21 AM on March 21, 2012


Well, I certainly understand how the fellows in the boat want to see and touch the whales, but whale watching ought to be banned. I say this as I live exactly two blocks from the harbour of a tourist town, where there are at least a dozen whale watching companies who speed out in motorized boats to harass our resident population of (endangered) Orca whales. As an economic activity it ranks up there with selling hot dogs. As cultural activity it ranks up there with viewing captive whales in an aquarium.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:26 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


i thought the video was neat
posted by shakespeherian at 6:35 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of all the things humans do to whales, I'd say this is just about the least-cruel. That boatload of people will go home with a profound appreciation and respect for these animals, which the whales deserve.

We could choose to never interact at all, but the less abstract the whales are, the better I think, when it comes to people en masse giving a shit about the whales' fate. The outrage in this thread feels a little contrived to me.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:42 AM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Contrived? Bollocks. I"m simply stating that that would not be acceptable in my culture. I'm sure there are cowboys here as everywhere, in the whale watching industry, that might do it. But it's against everything many people believe in. Australians regularly send protest/intercept boats out to piss off/try to stop Japanese whalers entering Australian waters. Australians, generally I believe, don't like this kind of behaviour at all.
posted by taff at 6:51 AM on March 21, 2012


I generally don't like being a tourist, but when I was in safari in Africa I felt great about being a tourist. I realized that none of the animals would be there if we were there. They all would have been killed long ago.

My first reaction to this video was, "hey, keep away from the whales!" But if that connection --- and the money paid to the tour operators --- creates support for ocean protections, maybe it's not such a bad thing.
posted by alms at 6:52 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really, no, not everyone should go out and seek to pet whales. But, it's going to occasionally happen if there's a whale-watching industry at all. I'm not an expert though, so I guess I'll bow out in favor of those who are.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:56 AM on March 21, 2012


Just DO NOT google whale lice like I did!

don't need to google it as i have seen cloverfield
posted by elizardbits at 7:00 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lizzy Caplan noooooo
posted by shakespeherian at 7:01 AM on March 21, 2012


If the whales have sea lice maybe they come over to the boats hoping the humans will scritch where the lice are and make them feel better.

I dunno, seemed like the whales were into it.

I know that often animals habituated to humans don't do as well as those that steer clear, but the tourism money is likely what helps prevent their breeding grounds from being turned into another industrial port (ie the salt factory that was planned for the area) so it's a toss up.
posted by Salmonberry at 7:02 AM on March 21, 2012


Oh. Lice aren't bad for whales;

"The lice are eating the inflamed whale tissue at the bases of the barnacles, where hard shell meets soft skin, but they are not parasites, and we wouldn't be doing the whales a favor if we somehow got rid of them. Eventually the lice will eat their way under the barnacle and it will then fall off. If grays didn't have lice, by the time they reached adulthood, they would be so covered with barnacles they wouldn't be able to move.

The lice seem to aid gray whales in another important way that we don't fully understand. When grays get a cut, lice from all over the whale head for it, and what looks like a feeding frenzy begins, but the next day the cut will be healed at the surface, and the whale lice will have disbursed. We don't understand how gray whales can heal so quickly, but we strongly suspect that the lice have something to do with it."
posted by Salmonberry at 7:06 AM on March 21, 2012 [19 favorites]


Can someone make an autotune remix of this already?
posted by victory_laser at 7:09 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The lice seem to aid gray whales in another important way that we don't fully understand. When grays get a cut, lice from all over the whale head for it, and what looks like a feeding frenzy begins, but the next day the cut will be healed at the surface, and the whale lice will have disbursed. We don't understand how gray whales can heal so quickly, but we strongly suspect that the lice have something to do with it."

In other words, they're nanites.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:11 AM on March 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ok, ok, last whale lice fact (I think):

"Gray whale cleaner fish: When the whales are in the Baja lagoons, topsmelt, silvery schooling fish, serve as cleaning fish for the whales. Normally feeding on marine plants and tiny shrimp, these fish pick at the whale’s barnacles and whale lice as an alternate food source."
posted by Salmonberry at 7:18 AM on March 21, 2012


whalegasm....
posted by Homemade Interossiter at 7:26 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


We've yet to fully understand whales' role on our planet

You haven't seen the Star Trek movie, I take it?
posted by desjardins at 8:10 AM on March 21, 2012


I found the peoples' reactions more interesting than the whales. I can safely say, People love whales! Article on on whales love.
posted by byronshell at 8:50 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Article on on whales love

It's interesting to think that Neko Case may be a whale.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:22 AM on March 21, 2012


I have to wonder if the screaming isn't what attracted/excited the whales. Yes, its annoying to us, but maybe mama whale was "oh, look at the squeaking monkeys, aren't they cute?"

And whales lift dolphins out of the water as part of what appears to be interspecies play, so I'm sure she did this on purpose, and I'm wondering if it isn't the same interest in playing with dolphins that interests them in people. Why not?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:00 AM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think that few people in this thread, myself included, have ever touched a whale, let alone seen one (relatively) up close. I think that in that moment, I might lose my shit too because it's a fucking whale, the biggest thing on earth, and it's right next to your boat and is being friendly, and hey! it has a baby with it too! Cut these people some slack. It may never happen to them again and they have a right to be excited because the whale approached them, and they got to touch it, and then they let it be. Give it a rest.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 11:06 AM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


> These astonishing, intelligent creatures were used for fuel until petrochemicals supplanted their oil in the 19th century

And in transmissions more than 1/2 way through the 20th.
posted by morganw at 11:18 AM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was once that close to a Great White Shark. It was not nearly as cute.
posted by kamikazegopher at 11:19 AM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


If it were a giant squid I would have screamed my fucking head off and then shit my pants.
posted by desjardins at 12:05 PM on March 21, 2012


I would love to see the pants that a giant squid wears.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:08 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


And does he dress left, right, other left, other right...?
posted by Gator at 12:15 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was once that close to a Great White Shark. It was not nearly as cute.

Australian man stands on whale AS SHARKS FRENZY FEED ON IT.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:41 PM on March 21, 2012


Just some anecdata: on Monday there was a whale in the Sausalito harbor. I was taking the ferry home and the captain announced that the whale was swimming alongside us on the port side. She definitely approached us and swam along for a while. People were excited--even the habitual commuters went over to the windows--but thankfully there was no screaming. It was neat to see everyone on the boat, young and old, so enthusiastic about it.

Whales are amazing.
posted by chatongriffes at 1:18 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


When I was commuting between Alameda and San Francisco by ferry I was late getting home once because there was a whale in the narrow channel between Alameda and Oakland and we had to slow down to manueuver around it. It was an awesome reason to be late!
posted by kirkaracha at 2:04 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Lice in the blowhole" needs to be a euphemism for some disgusting bodily malfunction. (Goes away to mull it over ...)
posted by echolalia67 at 2:54 PM on March 21, 2012


I was on a ferry once off Cape Cod and we saw a whale breach and dive - I burst into tears.

I watched this video for a few seconds - and burst tinto tears.

Why? Is that just literally what awe means?
posted by tristeza at 3:19 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I had the same reaction, tristeza, when the whales were looking at me. I just cried and cried. I feel teary now remembering it. Awe, I think, yes.
posted by rtha at 4:07 PM on March 21, 2012


I remember being out on a whale watching boat (it was for work, as part of a school trip) in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the entire population of Southern Resident Killer Whales pass by our boat. The procession of whales spanned the horizon. One of my colleagues burst into tears.

The southern Killer Whales are listed as endangered, and it's not really appropriate for whale watching boats to pester them. It is possible to get a close look via sea kayak, though, but in those cases it's always the whales that find you.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:11 PM on March 21, 2012


Metafiler: "oh, look at the squeaking monkeys, aren't they cute?"
posted by exphysicist345 at 4:31 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]




And kissing the whale???? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Yuck, people germs.

Ah, now I get you, taff. You're neurotic.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:48 AM on March 22, 2012


Australian man stands on whale AS SHARKS FRENZY FEED ON IT.

In my mind this kind of thing is totally commonplace and unremarkable in Australia.
posted by elizardbits at 10:28 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, up ya bum Broomy. Look at where my comma was. I was concerned that the whales might be exposed to human pathogens which might or might not be harmful to the whale.

I don't know, I'm not a whaleologist.

While it's a fair analysis of my personality that I'm neurotic, it's not salient to my point. Nor yours, it seems. Ya chheeky bloody bugger.
posted by taff at 3:02 AM on March 23, 2012


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