Watch as orcas charge a blue whale, probably just for kicks

A pod of orcas, aka the a-holes of the ocean, got recorded by a drone as they harassed a blue whale that was minding its own business. Read the rest

First underwater video of True's beaked whales in the wild

True's beaked whales spend much of their time deep underwater, so much of what we know about the mysterious species comes from stranded corpses. That's why a live sighting of a pod including underwater footage is so remarkable. Read the rest

Unmanned craft finds naturally-occurring whale fall

What happens when a whale dies? It sinks to the ocean floor, creating a whale fall, which becomes a fantastical garden of biodiversity. EVNautilus stumbled on a naturally-occurring whale fall during a live feed, an exceedingly rare find. Read the rest

Why the US Navy wanted to communicate using whale language

In the 1960s and 1970s, the US Navy researched whether they could use synthesized whale sounds for submarines to have encoded conversations across long distances underwater. Called Project COMBO, it was a fascinating attempt at biomimicry. The project's culminating experiment even attracted a pod of whales. Alas, Project COMBO ultimately failed, but it makes for a great story. From Cara Giaimo's article in Atlas Obscura:

Positioning themselves off of Catalina Island, 150 feet underwater, they blasted their squeaky, warbly codes through a transmitter. The receiver, placed at varying distances away, plucked the messages out of the noise flawlessly. Another test, in the fall, went deeper down and extended the range. In June of 1974, they sent out a real submarine, the USS Dolphin, which successfully transmitted sounds to a receiving ship—and, in a true vote of confidence, attracted a pod of pilot whales.

After these testing successes, researchers were left with a lot of work to do. Although they had the pilot whale on lock, they wanted to expand their repertoire by inventing “techniques and equipment to synthesize large whale sounds and small whale screams.” They still had to create scalable versions of their tools, including the call generator and the spectrograph-recognizer. Looking ahead, more problems loomed: the researchers figured this was a good enough idea that the Soviets would steal it, at which point American submariners would need to add another skill to their arsenal. “Fleet sonarmen must become more familiar with bioacoustic signals,” they wrote—inspiring thoughts of submarine soldiers, facing long days underwater, taking up sonic seal- and whale-watching.

Read the rest

Better video of the legendary "controlled" explosion of a beached whale

We've posted about this in the past, but it was brought to my attention that the legendary exploding whale news report was rebroadcast not long ago, meaning that the best quality possible (given the age of the 8mm film) is now available for your whale-exploding pleasure.

Read the rest

US Navy's sonar use violates Marine Mammal Protection Act

The Navy have been blasting the sea with louder than rock concert sounds, hunting for Red October. Apparently the U.S. Navy hasn't done enough to ensure its sonar technology isn't hurting whales tho. Regardless this decision being overturned, the Navy had already planned to phase out much of the harmful sound.

Via Vocativ:

“The Court of Appeals understood that the Navy can do more to reduce the risk of its powerful long-range sonar, especially in the vast reaches of the ocean where too little is known,” Michael Jasny of the National Resource Defense Council, one of several organizations behind suit, said in a statement. “Ignorance is no excuse for inaction where commonsense safeguards recommended by the government’s own scientists can prevent avoidable harm.”

The court’s ruling will send both parties back to a district court for further consideration. But time may well run out on the NMFS’s decision anyway; it expires in 2017. The Navy has already agreed to limit its use of sonar in certain locations starting in 2018. Soon, the only waves in the ocean will be the natural ones made of water, not man-made ones that come from sound.

Read the rest

Stunning video of whales swimming under the Aurora Borealis

Harald Albrigtsen shot this beautiful footage off the coast of Norway. (YouTube)

Read the rest

Seal surfs on whale's back

Robyn Malcolm captured this wonderful photo of a fur seal surfing on a humpback whale off Eden, Australia.

"We'd seen some amazing whales coming out of the water, everything was happening so quickly," Malcolm told the Sydney Morning Herald. "And it was when I went back through the photos that I realised I had actually captured the seal on top of the whale."

Geoff Ross, a whale expert at New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service said the only other time he'd heard of this happening is when a seal was attempting to escape an orca. Read the rest

Watch a breaching whale almost land right on kayakers

Humpback whales doing what they do, off Moss Landing, California. They kayakers were fine. From the YouTube post:

On our 08:00 am Sanctuary Cruises whale tour, just outside the harbor in Moss Landing, two kayakers on a tandam kayak were almost crushed to death by a massive, near full-size humpback whale. We stopped to see a large aggregation of humpbacks feeding and carrying on with random acts of hijinks. There were also a lot of kayakers right in the middle of it all. Humpbacks were coming up next to and in the middle of many kayakers. It was amusing. It's all fun and games until someone gets jumped on. The next thing we knew, this thing launched right on top of these two kayakers. That was heavy. The video was shot by Sanctuary Cruises passenger Larry Plants.

More: "Humpback whale breaches on top of kayakers in Moss Landing" (KSBW)

Read the rest

BBC TV host is very excited about this Blue Whale that just showed up

“I can see it now!”

Video: Rare white humpback whale sighting

Humpback whales with albinism are extremely rare, so it was a real treat when one appeared off the coast of Australia this week. Read the rest

Drone footage of gray whales and calves

Photographer Mark Carwardine got this lovely drone footage of a pod of gray whales frolicking off the coast of Baja California. Unfortunately, the boaters then approach and touch the whales. Read the rest

Terrorize the seas as the white whale of Moby Dick, but with lasers

Did you enjoy Ecco the Dolphin, but wish it had allowed you to commit mass murder? Then Pequod might be for you.

Humpack whale exhales a beautiful rainbow

I have taken whale-watching boat rides off Newport Beach many times, and seen many beautiful things. But there's always new beauty nature has ready to surprise us. Read the rest

Rare ocean encounter between sperm whale and remotely operated vehicle caught on video

About two thousand feet (598 meters) below the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, remotely operated vehicle Hercules encountered a magnificent sperm whale. Read the rest

Whale vaginas are amazing

Mammal penises, including those of cetaceans, are pretty easy to find, while vaginas are more difficult to examine; historically, accounts of animal reproduction have emphasized the features of penises and theories of sperm competition, but a burgeoning scientific emphasis on whale vaginas is revealing structures and strategies that are amazing and wonderful. Read the rest

Mother and daughter humpback whale, a photo from the Boing Boing Flickr Pool

Mother and daughter humpback whale. A photo captured and shared in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by reader Christopher Michel. Read the rest

More posts