Grey Whale Asks a Boat Captain for a Little Favor
Yes, you read that right! A grey whale requested a little favor from a human friend. Well, maybe not with the use of intelligible and audible words, but this boat captain has come to understand the needs of his whale friends—call him the whale whisperer.
In this case, the familiarity is quite understandable because the captain in question has been a whale watcher for over 20 years. Also, Captain Paco Jimenez Franco’s theatre has always been on the coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. But how exactly did the whale reach out? Let’s find out!
A Rare, Budding Friendship
Marine biologists and other experts that study whales in the wild would tell you that seeing one is usually a million-dollar opportunity—they can be shy creatures.
So, it was interesting to learn about Captain Franco’s friendship with a particular whale and its friends. It turns out, whales visit the Ojo de Liebre lagoon often, probably due to its low human traffic.
Ask a Marine Biologists
Marine Biologists tend to be more familiar with the mating habits of various whale species. The mating season is a good period for whale sightings and tagging.
Scientists sometimes tag whales with electronic trackers which help in mapping out the migratory routes of whale species. Also, during mating season, whales would often come to the surface. Marine biologists can tell the mating call of whales apart from their regular communicative interactions through the varying pitch of the sound.
Lounging With a Familiar Friend
After several years of visiting the lagoon to watch whales, the creatures cozied up to Franco, and would often swim up to his boat. Then, after a while, he noticed that things were not too well with some of the whales.
Franco noted that some of these creatures had a marine parasite, whale lice, attached to their skin. He could not tell for sure if whale lice causes discomfort to whales. However, whenever a whale swims close enough, he assisted with removing some of the lice.
The Aquatic HitchHiker
Unlike the lice that way too often plague some terrestrial creatures, whale lice are not really lice. On the contrary, they are merely crustaceans of the shrimp family that have taken advantage of the whale’s huge mileage and the constant availability of food.
Whale louse feed off their host whale by nibbling on algae growing on the mamma’s skin, they equally feed on the whale’s skin as it peels off. Some whale lice cluster around the fish orifice, like mouth and nostril, to feed on loose food debris.
Telling a Friend to Tell Their Friends
After helping a certain whale with its unwanted hitchhikers – lice – the creature made it a habit to visit Franco’s boat regularly. It doesn’t end there—some other whales have joined the first one on such visits.
For Franco, doing the whales a service is definitely an honor. He sees the lice-removing effort as a way of paying the whales back for the gift of their trust.
You Have Been Chosen!
In many parts of the world, humans are prohibited from coming in contact with whales. However, such rules are relaxed at the Ojo de Liebre lagoon as long as the whale in question initiates the contact.
Franco is really glad to have been chosen by this school of whales as their trusted louse picker. He looks forward to helping more of his aquatic comrades.
Are Whales Really Friendly?
There are widespread reports of killer whales attacking humans, sometimes around beaches and on some occasions in the open sea. Nonetheless, there have equally been many reports of humans having friendly encounters with whales in their natural habitat.
Experts say how a whale behaves when they encounter humans is a function of their previous encounters with two-legged comrades. Likewise, whaling activities in a region may tell on the behavior of the surviving whales.
Very Intelligent Mammals
Unlike regular smaller fishes that lay eggs, whales are actually mammals. The implication of this is that they give birth to live calves that have been fertilized during penetrative intercourse.
Judging by the sheer size of whale brains, it is often said that they are way smarter than humans and that they are better at recollecting faces and places. Some have even drawn the conclusion that their large brains are responsible for their sophisticated navigation skills.
The Whale Handler
It has been established that whales are quite intelligent mammals, maybe not as intelligent as humans. Interestingly, humans are still on a quest to understand these noble creatures.
If no other person agrees to the nobility of whales, Captain Franco Jimenez does. His frequent encounters with the creatures have earned them a soft spot in his heart. While there are some humans out to hunt whales for commercial reasons, Captain Jimenez is all in for their protection.