Posted on 07/18/2007

Photo taken on October  9, 2004

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1986 FISSURE 14: 1st ENCOUNTER 8/31 4 of 6

1986 FISSURE 14: 1st ENCOUNTER  8/31 4 of 6
Next he spread out his flippers again skulling a little to balance himself, then lying there like a bird soaring. The flipper glowed a beautiful greenish white beneath the surface.

Humpback whales are called Megaptera novaeangliae in latin which means big winged New Englander. With his wings spread he looked huge and we had to keep reminding ourselves that, being only two years old, he was still a "small" whale.

In this picture his blowhole was clamped firmly shut; he had just inhaled. You can see the fleshy ridge that forms a V around his nostrils and works as a splash guard. Whales nostrils (and those of most marine mammals) are closed when relaxed and must be pulled open to breathe.

That summer, we called him "Barney" because he carried a "pet" barnacle, the white dot on his back, and we could identify him as soon as we saw it. But his fluke was the true identifier, since barnacles are likely to fall off when Humpbacks migrate to warmer waters.

A more detailed account of my encounters with Fissure are in Fissure's blog

The Story of the First encounter with Fissure starts here.

The Story of the Second encounter with Fissure starts here.