Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baby Humpback

Kind of a sad day here. You all know how much I love whales, yes? And in particular humpbacks? I even went out on a whale watching tour in Kauai in hopes that I would catch a glimpse of one in the wild. Just before we turned back toward the harbor at sunset, we saw a mother and her calf surface, then their humps and flukes as they dove again. It was magical and was a big highlight of the trip for me.

Well, this morning, we had a something highly unusual happen. Here on the west coast we get gray whales and orcas (killer whales) in our waters. This morning, however, a lone baby humpback washed up on shore close to us, and died. This poor baby got tangled in a fishing net far to the west of us while he swam north toward Alaska with his mother. The calf's fluke and body were covered in deep lacerations from the nets. It was very sad. My aunt and I took the boys down to see it, not realizing it had already died. The boys had brought their pails to pour water over the baby to keep its skin from drying out. We were all very sad to hear it had passed away.

 Crowds of people were gathered around it, and a few people had placed flowers on its head. I hate to think of it suffering such a horrific death, frightened and far away from its mother, who must have stayed with it as long as possible. When the mothers give birth down in Hawaii and other tropical places, they don't feed for months, starving while the baby nurses and gains enough strength to make the trek to either Alaska or the Antarctic, where the mother can feed again. My heart breaks for them both. 

I was glad to see my boys were deeply touched by this animal's plight. I make them watch National Geographic shows all the time, especially oceanography or anything to do with whales. Big weasel came out with me on the catamaran in Kauai to see the humpbacks in the wild, so seeing this calf really hit home for him.