Continuing the whale saga

A more detailed report on the beached whale at this article from the local Coos Bay newspaper (there’s a video, too!) For anyone who doesn’t care to read the full article or watch the video, here’s the pertinent quote from Bruce Mate, who serves as marine mammal director at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center:

“The last two years there’s been what’s called a warm water blob developing off California and reaching up to our neck of the woods. And we’re bracing for a really strong El Nino this year. All three of those years are going to be really bad for whales that feed on krill,” he said.

He also described the whale as “emaciated” and said it had a “very sick blubber layer”.

So not exactly natural causes. 😦


Earlier in the day, looking out to sea catching several whales swimming off the beach at Cape Blanco. I caught two blowing in this shot with the fishing boat. The whales were waaaaay out there, so this zoomed shot is cropped pretty heavily.


A shot of one of the whales a bit closer to shore.


I know it’s considered de rigueur to use a slow shutter speed in order to produce the milky looking waves, but I’ve nearly always preferred to see the ‘action’. If I stare long enough at this shot, I can almost ‘see’ the surf crashing.

To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.
Rachel Carson


17 thoughts on “Continuing the whale saga

    • Thanks, Melissa. I still remember getting my first 35 mm SLR camera and playing with shutter speeds. I lived in the mountains and springtime would create amazing waterfalls from melting snow. I first learned about the different effects you could get with moving water back then. It was a novelty to create the silky water look, but that got old really fast. I’m glad you agree with my preference. 🙂


    • Keep in mind this is a quote from a guy who’s down there cutting up this monster whale with the accompanying stench. I’m willing to give him a bit of slack. 😉


    • I could not agree more. I remember when I got my first SLR camera (early 70s), playing with shutter speeds at water falls. I can’t help but think of that trick of turning water all silky like that as a beginner’s trick… same thing with converting to black and white. My question is ‘why’? But it’s all a matter of taste I suppose.


  1. Very disappointing news about the cause of the whale’s demise. Thank you for the lovely pics of live whales and the wonderful quote though to offset the sadness! 🙂 I lived at Hervey Bay in Queensland for about 7 years. It’s very well known for its whale watching tours. I just hope this in itself doesn’t cause distress to these beautiful creatures. We’re doing enough damage as it is to their environment.


    • It was a pleasure to see the live ones since I worry about the changes that are affecting all of our creatures these days. I suspect there are good whale watching tours, run with respect for the animals and likely there are the rotten ones that chase after them in order to satisfy their customers. It’s hard to think about all the species we seem to be extinguishing these days at a ever increasing clip.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my favorite things to see in the ocean are the whales’ blow sprays. They’re quick, though, so difficult to photograph — this is a great capture, Gunta. When close, it’s also fun to hear the spray. Really liked the Rachel Carson quote, too. 🙂


    • As long as I’ve lived on the coast (over 20 years now), I had never spotted a whale, despite taking one of the whale watch cruises. But that seems to have changed this past year since I’ve had several successes lately. I think I was lucky catching the blow sprays because there were quite a few in that one area. I would guess most likely grey whales since they appear in greater numbers here.


  3. We had the whale news up here, as well. It was mentioned that it’s very rare for a Blue Whale to get near the coastline. They stay in very deep waters. Poor thing!
    I have a question for you, off topic. Have you been to Loeb State Park, east of Brookings, to see the Redwoods? I may never get as far south to the Redwood forests in California and wondered if it would be worth it to just view them at this particular park. I know one has to hike in a mile to get to them. Thanks for any advice!


    • I’m really quite afraid of what we’re doing to other wild creatures with our disregard for other species.

      To be honest, I haven’t done any hiking at Loeb since it’s not that far for me to head south to the California Redwoods, so I can’t really comment. One of my favorite spots for Redwoods is just outside of Eureka. It’s called the Avenue of the Giants. Once you’ve made it to Brookings, it wouldn’t seem all that much farther. But then, I guess I’m spoiled. We are considering doing the zip line at Trees of Mystery.

      Liked by 1 person

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