Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and "Time Is Irreverent."

W is for Whale

Humpback Whale

Marty’s photo of the day #1477: It’s “Animals A thru Z Month.” Each day in June, I will post an animal I’ve photographed—somewhere in the world—in alphabetical order. I’ll post the letter “W and three others, twice (with different animals) to fill out the month.

W is for Whale. I photographed this humpback whale off the coast of Antarctica. Listed by the IUCN as a “vulnerable species,” humpback whales reach forty-nine feet in length and weigh up to sixty-six thousand pounds. They’re famous for their extra-long flippers, friendly disposition, and spectacular breaching.

The thrill of seeing humpback whales up close leaves each person with a specific unforgettable memory. For some, it’s the whales’ huge size, incredible beauty, playful disposition, or earthy smell. For me, it’s the sound they made releasing air from their blowholes when they surfaced. Psssshhhhhhhhhhhhhp!—it was much louder than I expected, like sea monsters.

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