When I stood on Da-An Beach, and with binoculars watched the 'black whale
' 100 meters away from me in the waves, I was reminded of the common mammalian ancestors that they and we had once shared, and the several million years since we parted ways.
The southern waters off Antarctica were teeming with, as one naval officer wrote in his journal, "a very great number of the largest black whales
, so tame that they allowed the ship to almost touch them before they would get out of the way; so that any number of ships might procure a cargo of oil in a short time."
Indeed, blue whales, humpbacks, pilot black whales
, orcas and gray whales were the stars, with a supporting cast of dolphins, sea lions, pelicans and other ocean creatures.
Spiny black whales
trying to beach themselves en masse.
We set sail in a catamaran and had the delight of being joined by several dolphins and black whales
who swam alongside us.
The small black whales
, which had been tagged on Monday before being freed from Chapin Beach in Massachusetts, were found stuck in shallow water this morning about 25 miles away.
Rangers rescued 40 of the black whales
in a huge operation.