ML 141241


Interview 10:16 - 55:23 Play 10:16 - More
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Louis Herman  







Whaling; Humpback Whale  

Interview 56:06 - 1:00:48 Play 56:06 - More
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Molly Hurst  







Humpback Whale  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
8 Mar 1998

  • United States
    Maui County
  • 5.0 km W of Lahaina; aboard the boat Nuki
  • 20.87194   -156.72694
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
  • Sennheiser MKH 30
  • Sennheiser MKH 40
    Equipment Note
  • Stereo=1; Decoded MS stereo; Sennheiser MKH40 Cardioid Mid Mic and MKH30 Bidirectional Side Mic into Sony TCD10 Pro 2


Lou Herman (LH)
Molly Hurst (Molly)
Alex Chadwick (AC)
Les Gilbert (LG)

9:20 am 3/8 on Nuki--small boat, out with Lou Herman and Mark to record whales and into

@2:00 boat humm, AMBI water, moving equipment, to 2:52 then talking ...

5:04 19 mkh sennheiser, cado on left, fig 8 right no ms decoding leaving tape rolling on course of trip, may make comment after to describe event but will leave tape rolling to see what we can get ...

talking in bckground, moving equip on boat, making plans ... radio noises ...beeps of radio, motor startup talking...

9:50 motor on and leaving harbor...

10:17 lh this is a historic location back in the 1800s/1840s this was a mecca of all the whaling ships, ... gen carousing area, would have as many as 400 whale ships visiting here throughout the year, (music in background) ...

13:48 lh fueled boat, totally calm day pulling away from dock 14:12 exiting from Lahaina Island...describing directions ...water is very calm

--ac make any diff to whales

--lh i don't think so, but helps us to get more stable platform for photography... flag is up, have to carry yellow pendant w/ scientific research number on them ... allows them to get rel close to whales ... 1/2 dozen research boats each one doing diif research, now our 23rd year of research began in 1975 investigating rumor that there were whales in these waters ...1960s many thousands were killed...began formal aircraft surveys to see distribution around islands

--ac you mean to say people couldn't see whales back then jumping and breaching

18:05 lh there were very few remaining the estimates were in 1966 1000 remaining in the north pacific ocean we knew from earlier days
that whales were present historically but sitings rare since after wwII and during WWII sort of blackout kind of just forgot about ...numbers increasing...what we see today is not what we saw back 1965/ 1966 ...during that period we/ve learned quite a lot about the whales come to regard them quite diferently... thought of them as quite placid gentle giants but learned alot about competition between males ...not all females coming down ... some may get pregnant on route ...animal at surface over there .. .

21:09 lh twelve o'clock at about two hundred yards going to head out that way ...what we do when we see a whale ... is try to get in favorable position to capture tail flukes on camera ...make recordings take down data . ..over the years we've gathered of some 12,000 photographs 3-4 thousand indiv animals figure out which animals have seen build up individual life histories ...we found the very first whale that we photographed actually the first that we had photo more than once was just resited in 1986 seen first in 1966--4/5 times seen

voice over radio

sitting waiting to see if whale comes up again.

talks about gsp reading

--ac seven minutes to find first whale typical


26:23 lh to look for a singer we/re going to be looking for a whale that/s surfacing by itself maybe blowing 3/4 times on long dives ...

--do they ever sing in Unison?


--songs are very similar song dynamic during season across
seasons phrases picked up and dropped ...

30:45 lh the mother was right under the boat has big white pectoral fins ...behind uS I mom and calf fluke coming!

31:23 lh calf was to the left

33:34 record frame #1 fluke color and behavioral roll

33:54 lh bottoms up 200 yards ...motor LOUD 34:35 Flukes coming fluke down

dive ... def have escort there ...

35:34 lh so now in area where the whale's footprints were, some bubbling current here, when the whales beat their tails underwater creates a vortex. which rises to the surface leaving a smooth area, called whales footprint of HI puka meaning hole, whale hole.

36:40 lh v typical arrangement is a mother and calf followed by a third that we've dubbed the escort turns out to be a male presumably following mother and calf for purposes of mating with the mother ... although i should add no one's ever seen mating take place.

38:28 lh tank problem, fluke's coming

38:58 start up engine, 39:06 tries gain, 39:12 again

40:30 engine starts motor ambi

45:10 lh that's the calf at the surface now hopefully we'll be able to catch a mom or escort when they surface, mom and escort very near

i'm sure underwater...

--ac how far away is that calf from us

45:43 lh just about fifty feet, there's a mom white pecs coming up there she blows ...*

45:54 lh

lh escort on the right, flukes coming!

46:32 lh he didn't quite show his flukes as well as we like it

could see white large pec fins

47:05 lh pec fins about third of body length or about 15 feet, largest of any of the whales ...

47: 31 lh flippers are very mobile when you watch them underwater they almost have all the mobility with their flippers as we have wi our arms ... they might wrap them around the whale. they may playa large role in reg body temp ...basically the whale has a big layer of blubber like a wet suit, except the tail, flippers, ...that's cartilage

48:49 lh
flippers main way to exchange heat

49:00 lh mom up at surface

--lh calf still at surface

49:18 lh again mom is to right calf to left

49:20 **whales blow escort and mom both blow, escort first

--ac how do you know you're following the same group?

50:35 lh by the body characteristics, how many are in group can look at the shape of the dorsal fin and it has characteristic shape to it very often

55:09 lh do you ever have the sense that you know where they are going?

56:01 lh the whales are just below us

56: 09 molly hurst just looking down into the water you can see the silhouette of the escort and along the can see some scarring, and the mother's pectoral ....
white pecs make them alot easier to see underwater

56:48 ac they're just kind of hanging there

56:50 molly -pretty common for mothers and calves and oftentimes the calf will corne up and swim or mill in slow circles

--molly not alot of sexual dimorphism

1:00:29 molly that milling behavior is really common with the calves wnere they'll swim in circles above the morn dive down and gen stay in really close proximity
to the morn when below surface oftentimes you'll actually see the calf across the morn's face or rostrum and occasionally you'll actually observe nursing as well ...

boat motor, boat rocking, talking in background

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