Diving with giants gentleness of nature's largest predator

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PostWed Apr 07, 2010 10:04 pm » by bugmenot


Diving with giants: The extraordinary shots that capture the gentleness of nature's largest predator :look: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldne ... dator.html

These incredible pictures shows the gentleness of giant sperm whales as they play near the surface.

Taken in Dominica in the Caribbean, the pod even allows snorkellers to touch and interact with them.

Hunted for their oil and demonised as savage brutes in fiction such as Herman Melville's Moby Dick, these pictures show a gentler side to one of the planet's largest mammals.

They were taken by Dr Peter G Allinson, from Florida, who specialises in Underwater and Hyperbaric Medicine who travels to Dominica on a regular basis to highlight these magnificent creatures.

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Diving with predators: Divers swim with giant sperm whales in the warm waters off Dominica in the Caribbean

Dr Allinson, 61, said: 'When they interact with us they approach us very closely, rolling over again and again, trying to get us to rub their abdomens and bodies.

'When you start getting close to them you feel nervous, intimidated and then as they interact with you pleasure - you realise they are intelligent.'

Dr Allinson said that although there are about 150 off the coast of Dominica, they are hard to find. Boats use sonar and spout sightings to locate them, but it is quite rare to find them in a relaxed and playful mood.

They only use snorkels when they swim with them, as the air bubbles from scuba tanks disturbs them.

He added: 'Generally I spend four days to a week trying to photograph the whales.

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Gentle giants: The whales are so relaxed they allow the swimmers to pet and interact with them

'There are about 150 whales living offshore of Dominica, but they are not always there or easy to find.

'Most of the boats we have used utilise a hydrophone to locate the general area they are in and visual sightings of their spouts to pinpoint their location.

'The whales come to the surface to breathe and socialize. They stay on the surface anywhere from about 15 minutes to over an hour.

'They are truly beautiful creatures and I photograph them in the hopes of helping to save the whales.

'The more people who understand these wonderful animals the better.'

Sperm whales have the largest brain of any animal, are the largest toothed animal and the largest living predator.

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Hold that pose: Sperm whales are the largest living predator on the planet

Diving to depths of three kilometres to feed on giant and colossal squid also makes them the deepest diving mammal.

The clicking sound they make is also the loudest sound made by any animal.

Male whales can grow up to 20.5 metres or 67 feet long and can weigh up to 57,000 kilos.

The species was named after the oily white spermeceti found in its head and used in candles, cosmetics, soap and machine oils.

From the mid 18th century until last century the whale was also hunted for its oil used in specialized lubricants, lamp oil, pencils, crayons, leather waterproofing, rust-proofing materials and many pharmaceutical compounds.

Ambergris, a waxy substance found in the whale's stomach was also used as a fixative in perfumes.

Due to hunting the species is listed as vulnerable but has also gone down in folklore.

In 1820 an American whaling ship, the Essex, was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale, which inspired Herman Melville to pen the classic tale Moby Dick.

It is believed that there were more than a million sperm whales when hunting began and today with a ban their numbers are back in the hundreds of thousands.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldne ... dator.html :look:

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PostThu Apr 08, 2010 1:52 pm » by Svaha


Thanks, I love them.
Follow your bliss(ters) - Joseph Campbell



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