Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dramatic encounter: sailboat vs. whale

A southern right whale, 10m long and weighing 40 tons, chose a bad time to hurl itself out of the water. There was a sailboat of about its own length in the way, and the photos were dramatic. Both sailboat and whale survived. South African authorities are investigating whether the sailboat was steered deliberately to very close quarters with the whale.

COMMENT: One cetologist wrote something interesting about whales' habit of breaching. If a blue whale leaps almost clear of the water and falls back, its head is falling 30 meters or more and hitting incompressible water. Why isn't the whale's brain mashed? We don't know.

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