Dance the River Whale
Emin told G1 that the group hypothesized that the young whale got detached from its mother before it died. Humpbacks travel great distances every year, slowly migrating to and from the poles.go
Quileute welcome whales with song, dance
Those in the Northern Hemisphere migrate this time of year to tropical waters before returning north in the summer. In the Southern Hemisphere, they migrate south during this time of year and return north during their winter, in the breeding season. Emin said her group was examining the whale to try to determine its cause of death.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, whalers killed at least , humpbacks in the Southern Hemisphere, decimating the population, according to scientists.
But worldwide conservation efforts in recent decades, and treaties enacted to outlaw whaling, have saved the once endangered species. Commercial whaling was outlawed in South America and Antarctica in The rising humpback population has also increased the odds that one will become entangled in fishing nets or be struck by a ship, believed to be leading causes of their deaths.
3rd Annual Country Western Cruise aboard the American Princess
Every year, an estimated , whales and dolphins die after getting caught in fishing gear, according to the International Whaling Commission. The first day, and part of the second, had been a fruitless search. I prepared my mask, my fins, my camera — we were going to meet the humpback. I have swum with and photographed whales of various species in many places, but this adventure was different.
Humpbacks were the whales that first drew my interest away from years of photographing coral reefs and their inhabitants — to capturing images of marine megafauna and all of the open ocean, and physical and logistical challenges that included. In the interim, I had photographed blue whales, sperm whales, and many species of dolphin and small whales, but the singer, the dancer, the gregarious performer of the seas — perhaps the best-known and least shy whale — had still eluded me. Adding to the hand-wringing hope that this trip would be more fortuitous was that my son was with me, and this was to be our first whale adventure together — in fact, his first whale ever.
The challenges and risks of getting near animals larger than almost any dinosaur and weighing over 30 tons are considerable.
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Photo: Joshua Barton. Nathan was born in India, where I still live after moving to Bangalore from the US many years ago; but he relocated to the US with his mom a decade ago. All we had now were his summer holidays. It is hard enough to maintain a strong connection with a child as they enter their teens and change and construct their own, independent world; harder still when the mom and dad are no longer together or under the same roof. Put two continents and 11 time zones between those roofs and staying connected to a teenage American boy can be daunting. Luckily, I had a passion that I was able to share with him; the sea has served as our bond through the distance and months apart.
Diving has provided a connection few other activities can. We learn together, explore together. As dive buddies in the sea, Nathan is my guardian and I am his; we are equals below the surface, where his responsibility and not his age is the only factor that counts; and maturity while diving at least!
Look out for your father, your fellow diver, for his life is as much in your hands as yours is in his. Even when we were paired with other divers, Nathan did fine: no one seemed to care if he was 14 or even 11; as long as he could do what the group did, he was a diver like them. Nothing better to instil a young person with confidence and a sense of their potential in life than showing what they can do with only skill and determination in hand.
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We developed a pattern that has held for a decade: come home from the US to Bangalore for a short stay, and then off on an adventure that involves some new country or territory, wilderness; and plenty of diving. At 9, he did his first try dive in Vietnam; at 10, he got his Jr. Advanced on a liveaboard in the Maldives. Our summers of random adventure crossed Cambodia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Oman and beyond, seeing what we could; never knowing what was around the bend or what the dawn would bring.
Curious Baby Humpback Whale 'Dances' With Mum and Divers
Diving has provided us a connection few other activities can. Almost all flights are from faraway Paris, the balance from nearby Mauritius. Few know of this place, and clearly fewer know it is a migration destination for humpback whales. Here, more planning was needed.
After months of researching, emailing and coordinating, we managed to get associated with a group of researchers on the island and, by sponsoring their NGO, were allowed to join them on their outings. The challenges and risks of getting near animals larger than almost any dinosaur and weighing over 30 tons were considerable.
Quileute welcome whales with song, dance | Peninsula Daily News
The ocean was m deep; we needed to be spread out from each other in the open sea; and whales can be very physical — there was no room for error. One of the team took us to a spot near shore to teach Nathan free-diving skills, for descending into the deep blue without a breathing apparatus.
The skills to gain at the start are not as much about technique as attitude and presence of mind — to not panic; to learn that even your initial depth limits are beyond what you thought you could do, and that you have more air than you think. And especially, to always ensure someone is watching you: shallow water blackouts, or cerebral hypoxia, occur even when you think you are safe and near the surface, so the buddy system is as vital when free-diving as with scuba.
My mind was was only half as pre-occupied on keeping Nathan safe from free-diving risks as from sharks. We are water people, and confident. All the attacks were close to shore, most likely from bull sharks, which prefer murky water, churned surf, and brackish river outlets — anything to hide their approach.
Now, as we practiced free-diving near shore, my mind and eye were on a constant lookout. Watching my son move through the water with grace and confidence, diving to the reef below and arcing up, I realised that his closeness to the sea from such a young age meant that he respected sharks certainly, but without the fear I myself felt.