Photographer's Note

The expression in the title comes from the shrill announcement that a whale watcher bellows when he spots a whale. It was made famous in Herman Melville's 1851 classic, "Moby Dick."

While on a Vancouver to Alaska cruise between July 27 and August 4, I participated in a whale-watching excursion. Although in photographs we see these creatures slapping the water as they begin a deep dive, the photo I am submitting represents a fleeting moment, singled out from at least 30-40 photos, of a humpback whale frolicking in the waters of Alaska. Recently, a good friend in Hawaii shared a video of a humpback whale that was rescued after being entangled in a plastic net . The joy and gratitude the animal showed its rescuers is genuinely heart warming.

The literature reports that adults vary in length between 12–16 metres (39–52 ft) and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms (79,000 lb) and that they are acrobatic animals that frequently spring out of the water, and crash back down. According to Wikepedia, “Males produce a complex song that lasts for 10 to 20 minutes and is repeated for hours at a time. The purpose of the song is not yet clear, although it appears to have a role in mating.” Their low frequency sounds can be detected hundreds of miles away, and in the days before large ships populated the oceans, the sounds of whales could travel around the globe.

Found in oceans around the world, humpback whales typically migrate as much as 25,000 kilometers (16,000 mi) each year. Humpbacks feed only in summer, in polar waters, and migrate to tropical and subtropical waters to breed and give birth in the winter. Just last January I was on a cruise from Los Angeles to the French Polynesian Islands, and sailed through the spawning grounds of these magnificent denizens of the deep. During the winter, humpbacks fast and live off their fat reserves.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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