A whale of a tale+comment
A few months ago, I wrote about AHWC No. 1363, the wayward whale that broke all expectations (and established migration patterns) and journeyed from the coastal waters of the Pacific all the way to Mediterranean. I found the story fascinating and (with the help of some egregious anthropomorphizing on my part) inspirational. A number of readers asked me to follow up on AHWC No. 1363’s progress, and over the past few months I scoured the web for more information about her to no avail.
But thanks to Madeline Brand’s interview with Marine Biologist Patt Krug, we now know a little more about that amazing journey. It turns out that instead of returning from the Arctic to Baja, as one would have expected of a North American coastal whale, she went around the north pole, which is extra extraordinary because prior to 2007 she would not have succeeded; because of global warming, the polar ice that would have stopped her trek has melted enough to allow such a large lady through. So… yay?
Here’s where the ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ narrative that I had constructed begins to fall apart a bit. Once she made her epic journey, she began to revert to old habits. Though she made it to the other side of the world, she stayed close to the coast and headed south, keeping the shore on her left. So instead of traveling down the coast of California to Baja as would be her norm, she went down the coast of Europe and ended up off the coast of Israel. Maybe she didn’t reinvent herself completely, but least she got a different view.
So the mystery of how she did it has been solved, but where she is now and how that journey effected her is still unknown. The ocean is vast, and it is hard to pinpoint one whale, particularly one who doesn’t always swim by the rules. Where ever she is, I hope she’s healthy and happy.