Thursday, August 13, 2015

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale

I have recently returned from the Great South Channel where I had the great blessing of photographing whales, dolphins and pelagic birds. After a long trip in the belly of a magnificent large creaky fishing boat from Montauk, we traveled out into the feeding grounds of the Atlantic Humpback whales. Along the way, we met high swirly waves, Sei, Minke and Fin whales.

Common dolphins meeting the boat. 

Beautiful sunrises greeted us on the edge of the channel where our sleepy eyes met sorbet skies, beautiful birds and sapphire waters.

So many beautiful Humpback feeding behaviors were observed, bubble walls were made by the whales as throngs of pelagic birds flew in to share the bounty.

Elegant swaying tales, leaping dolphins, breaching whales and aqua bubbles, kept us captivated for hours and hours.

The highlight of the trip was the arrival of a pod of common dolphins that swam across the path of several traveling whales. This was a first for me and took my breath away. It almost felt like a fairy tale come true. 

Breaching for joy. 

All the while, my favorite poem came back to me as I was taking pictures…

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch
the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. 
Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats.
Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of
distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the 
beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your
reports. Review
each of your life's ten million choices.
endure moments 
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of
those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen
for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the
sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed 
with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic.
Think of all
the things you did and could have done,
treading water in the center of the still
night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into 
the black depths.

by Dan Albergotti

Thank you CRESLI volunteers, Dr. Kopelman, Dr. Safina and the crew of Viking Starship of Montauk, N.Y.

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