Category Archives: whales

the whalesong project: listen to whales in real time


The project’s goals?

  • Share the songs of Hawai’i’s whales with the world, live over the Internet, during the islands’ humpback whale season (November to June) through our
  • Research and develop acoustic and other monitoring technologies to enhance the transmission quality of the songs from the hydro-phone off the coast of Maui to the website link.

There’s even an app. We love this project.

a Moby-Dick adaptation that brings the Whiteness of the Whale to life as a female character

From today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution review of the SAIAH production of John Gentile’s adaptation of Moby-Dick:

Obviously, a major challenge of bringing Herman Melville’s story to the stage was the fact that one of the main characters weighs 90 tons and lives in the ocean.

“I immediately moved to a more symbolic and abstract idea, which is something that live theater can do so well,” says Gentile. “The concept became: How do we embody the essence of the whale?” In the production, actress Briana Brock plays the Whiteness of the Whale, a beautiful, spectral female presence in a world of men.

“It’s something very different than what you’d expect in a production of ‘Moby-Dick,’” says Gentile. “It creates a sense of otherness about her. You have this male crew, and then this one female figure.”

what, and how, do whales see?

Using images from Bryant Austin’s gorgeous book Beautiful Whale, Alexis Madrigal explores the topic in an Atlantic article:

“as Austin puts it, the whale challenges him “to reevaluate our perceptions of intelligent, conscious life on this planet.” This mammal’s eye — lens, cornea, pupil, retina, photoreceptors and ganglion nerve cells — is a direct passageway into its brain. And when we look at it, Austin can’t help but see an intelligence there, a connection to a brain that, perhaps, works enough like ours for us to understand each other.”


“Whales, unlike nocturnal rodents or ourselves, see the world in monochrome. Leo Peichl at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research co-authored a paper with the nearly tragic title, “For whales and seals the ocean is not blue.” Indeed, the first thing that we can know for sure about how whales see the world is that it exists only in shades of gray. The water we see as blue they would see as black. “They do want to see the background. They want to see animals on the background. And the animals on the background are reflecting light that’s not blue,” Johnsen explained. If we try to imagine what that might look like, Johnsen said perhaps we could picture a grayscale photograph of people wearing fluorescent clothes under a black light.”

It’s a fascinating read.


Jon Cornforth’s spectacular photos of a whale breach

The photographer spent 90 minutes in the water with the whales, and then … the breach. You must see these images.

Whale rescued from La Paz shoals


Sighted; Rescued: Disappeared. Read the whole story.

Image: Octavo Dia/Reporteros Sin Fronteras