Posted tagged ‘north atlantic’

Right Whale Sighting

September 3, 2009


Beth and I just got back from a week long vacation on Campobello Island, a Canadian island in the Bay of Fundy, which is off the coast of Maine. While we were there we saw three of the 400-450 North Atlantic Right Whales–almost 1% of the total population. Here’s a clip of the first one we saw:

You can identify this as a right whale by the distinctive “V” shape of the spouting (at 0:55 in the clip above). It’s kind of funny that the two nostrils don’t fire at exactly the same time. I think I’d have to be a pretty advanced yogi to breathe with asynchronous nostrils. I learned on this outing that baleen whales have two nostrils like us (and most of our other mammal buddies) while toothed whales have just one blowhole. Nostril is kind of a gross sounding word until you consider the alternative of having something called a “blowhole” in the middle of your face.

Right whales are so named not because they have conservative political viewpoints, but because whalers considered them the “right” whales to hunt. This was because they floated after being harpooned and they often swim close to the shore.
About twenty minutes later after seeing the whale above, we saw this right whale mother and calf:

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