Whale Song: Journeys into the Secret Lives of the North Atlantic Humpbacks
In the late 1960s the songs of the humpback whales were first brought to the attention of the world by a Bermudian named Frank Watlington, working for the US government at the SOFAR station listening for Russian submarines with underwater hydrophones off the coast of the island. With an acrobatic ability to launch their fifty-foot, fifty-ton bodies out of the water, the humpback whale has since become the poster child of one of the fastest growing sectors in tourism: whale watching. Forty years later, in 2007, adventurer and author/film maker Andrew Stevenson embarked on an ambitious four-year project to film the humpback whales during their mid-ocean migratory crossings past Bermuda.
Filming the humpbacks underwater fifteen miles offshore as they traveled past these mid-Atlantic islands each spring, Andrew has made startling revelations about the lives of these great whales. They include the discovery that humpbacks are singing in Bermuda to aggregate into large protective convoys to run the gauntlet of orcas further north. His unique underwater photographs/footage of close-up encounters with humpbacks, audio recordings of their singing, and over 300 individual fluke photo-identification photographs have propelled Andrew into the cutting edge of marine biology.
While humpbacks have been researched extensively over the last four decades in their feeding and breeding grounds, Bermuda is unique in providing a window into the mid-ocean migratory social behaviour of humpbacks whales. Reminiscent of Jean-Jacques Cousteau's audacious writings about marine life in the 60s and 70s, Andrew's descriptions and passion for marine life, and the whales in particular, fills a gap in the literature on whales and the increasing interest the public have in some of the largest creatures ever to have inhabited this planet.
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