I came across a news report this morning that declared “Search on for “world’s loneliest whale”. With a title like that how could I resist? So I clicked on the link.
In 1989, William Watkins, who was an Oceanographer for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, was rummaging through old U.S. Navy recordings of whale sounds. During his research he stumbled upon an anomaly that was very much out of place. Apparently, almost all whales emit their vocalizations in a frequency that ranges between 17 and 18 Hertz. By calling out at the same frequency it makes it easier for other whales to recognize the source of the sound, which then they cordially return the call. However Watkins discovered that their was one whale out there in the wide blue ocean that was calling out at a frequency of 52 hz. That meant that when our odd duck of a whale called out to ask if anyone was out there, he would never get a reply. Because some assumed no other whales could hear his calls.
They were able to track the ‘loneliest’ whale migration between 1992 and 2004. Now Bruce Mate of the Hatfield Marine Science at Oregon State University Is going to lead the search for the whale, and document the experience.
I found myself feeling rather sorry for our mystery whale. I just pictured him out there, calling out, “hello, hello, is there anyone out there?” And day in and day out his calls would go unanswered. Maybe the whale spends his days asking what is so wrong with him that nobody is willing to acknowledge his existence. I imagine the whale has dreams that he swimming along with a pod of his own kind. And in the dream he talks all day and all the other whales are just amazed at how everything it has to say is so fascinating. They marvel at his voice, and they shower him with praise. I bet the lonely whale dreams that it is the most interesting whale in the world. You can’t help but feel empathy.
Yes, I know that the thought is a bit silly. Considering that the scientist aren’t even sure if the whale is really alone. Some suspect that it actually swims in a pod of 15 to 20 whales. And that other whales can hear him just fine, it just that to them he sounds like he speaks with a lisp.
Personally I hope the scientist are right, that this whale isn’t lonely at all. And that maybe other whales think that he has the most beautiful voice they have ever heard. Kinda be the Whitney Huston or Adele of the whale world. What can I say, sometimes I root for the happy ending. Everyone deserves to feel like they are a part of something. Even a lonely whale with a funny lisp.