Friday, March 27, 2009

So, did they come through the Panama Canal?

When I was younger, I was pretty sure I was going to be a marine biologist and was certain I was going to spend my time studying whales and sharks. I even went to sea to do science as well as sailing. While my career path took a slightly different course, my fascination for things aquatic has never wavered and that's one of the reasons this story caught me by surprise. Of all the creatures in the sea, the ones I'd like to see up close and personal most would be Orcas, aka "killer whales", the world's largest dolphin. I've read about them, seen film of them, bought books about them, and in all that time, never knew that they could be found in the Gulf of Mexico. That must have been one hell of a trip for the crew and charter passengers of the 60-foot fishing boat Shady Lady, suddenly finding themselves among as many as 200 killer whales swimming about in pursuit of tuna.

1 comment:

Rick Spilman said...

Years ago, before kids, my wife and I went kayaking with orcas in Black Fish Sound off Vancouver. We sat in a narrow channel as a resident orca pod swam toward us, then around and beneath us. We paddled alongside a resting pod. We got to be able to recognize different pods by their markings. It was an amazing trip.

What is so intriguing about orcas is that we know so little about them. Scientists didn't even know about offshore orcas until 1988(!). Three distinct types of orcas have recently been discovered in the Antarctic.

I was pleased to read that orcas have been found in the Gulf. In some respects it just confirms how little know about these magnificent creatures.