Whales are far from being understood as a species
Researchers have tracked their migration routes, studied their birthing, observed their feeding habits, listened to their sounds and songs, as well as having done full dissections, however they have not learned how to directly communicate with whales.
And yet we really know little about whales. We do know that whales are social creatures and that whales live in groups, called pods. We do know that whales are mammals, and that as a species in water, breathe air as we do. Researchers see and have documented through observation that whales have complex social patterns.
Whale family structures are similar to human relationships
One of the most important facts about whales is that whales are particularly intelligent mammals and like humans, place much value on their families and the role that each member plays within the unit. Notably, the individual families also travel and migrate together in pods. Each family member continues to play a vital role within that pod, as a greater unit of the family. These groups demonstrate the sociable nature of whales and their unspoken cooperation with one another is evidence of the insight and sense of responsibility inherent to these creatures.
Whales tend to separate themselves into pods according to age and sex
The whale cows and their calves travel together in pods of up to 30 members at a time, accompanied by one dominant bull. Cows without their calves, or whose calves are mature enough, act as midwives to pregnant and nursing mothers. They assist them with their birth by ensuring that the newborn reaches the surface of the water for air. Cows are also babysitters to the other mother’s calves in her absence, and assist her with the care of her new baby in a general sense. Does this sound like a creature without a mind or consciousness?
The calves stick close to their mothers for an average of three to six years. But this period can be even longer, depending on the individual calf and their species. Even after they have left their mother’s side, they may still return to the main pod to visit her. Females are also known for returning to their first pod when they become pregnant with their own calf.
The whale youths of the group eventually branch off into a smaller juvenile pod. These whales will move into larger pods once they reach sexual maturity and begin to calve. In some cases, the juvenile pod is either replaced or broken away from by a ‘bachelor pod’, consisting of only the young bulls. Whales are considered ‘juveniles’ from about three years of age to approximately thirteen.
There is a dominant bull in each core pod, and he is responsible for the pod in which he resides
He is sexually mature and cares for his harem of cows and calves. The other males tend to stick to themselves, travelling separately from the rest of the main pod, as to respect the ‘property’ of the dominant bull whale. The dominant bull will rarely interact with the juvenile or bachelor pods. When he does mix with the juvenile cows, though, the opportunities for mating and introducing ‘new blood’ into the core pod increases.
This family- and pod structure is designed to protect the weak and the young of the group. Because whale calves do not mature as quickly as some other mammals do, they require time to grow and develop within a protected environment. The organization of the dominant male and the group of mothering cows ensures that calves are isolated from the dangers of the deep.
Travelling in this way also ensures that whale migrations remain orderly and safe for all involved, preventing smaller family units from drifting off course or facing the dangers that come with isolation. Of course, whales are also social creatures and benefit from the close interaction with others of their sort. This level of mutual understanding and cooperation is another indication of the brilliance of the whale creation and instinct.
And yet researchers challenge the consciousness this creature. Psychologists have used mirrors with dolphins, testing them for ‘self-awareness’. The silly thing is there are some unfortunate humans who are not even ‘self conscious’ when looking into a mirror.
The problem is actually simple. Communication.
Researchers don’t know how to communicate with whales
The truth is we have forgotten, or at least most of us, how to communicate with animals. One can go back as far as the Bible. Back with Adam & Eve. If you remember your biblical history, there was communication between Eve and a snake. And that communication threw them out of the Garden of Eden!
I would say that Eve picked the wrong creature to communicate to!
My only point is that many of us do and still communicate to our pets, verbally and non-verbally. We know when they are sick or hungry. Some unique ones have the ability to learn our language, though limited.
But we as a species have lost, for the most part, that ability to communicate with creatures not of the human species.
I believe that ability is there. I say this because I have experienced their communication, and that is why I wrote my book. But you will see that the way that I wrote my book was not just was going on in my head, but what happened in the physical environment as a result of that communication, and as witnessed by others!
In my blogs I will discuss this more, but this page introduces you to my thoughts and experiences. To demonstrate this, Here is an excerpt from my book, True Tails:
It was at the very same cove where I had my first experience with whales. It was early February and a year later. My wife and our family had come to our special place. The place where we could escape our busy lives and enjoy ourselves and our children.
We had just put our tents up and stowed our gear. My daughter and son had brought a friend each and were now discovering shells along the beach or chasing the icy cold tide water with bare feet.
Dusk was only an hour away. Cold grey clouds hid the blue sky. An icy wind blew in my
wife’s and my face. I was happy that we had come prepared with windproof and down jackets.
I stood at the edge of the pier with her, surrounded here and there by others who were
fishing from the pier. Although our faces were both cold, we had each other.
My wife nestled into my jacket. I could hear the sound of her jacket touch mine as she moved closer to me. I looked southward. Time stood still for just a moment, with only the sound of the wind moving in my ears.
In the far corners of my mind something pulled at me.
Looking south and into the distance, puffs of white clouds rose from the sea. A voice behind me said, “The whales are coming!”
Some people intently fishing on the pier never moved at the comment. They were already mesmerized by their own focused actions, intent on catching a fish or baiting their hooks. Others ran to the end of the pier, watching as my wife and I did, taking in the spectacle approaching us.
Leaning into the corner of the pier, I squinted my eyes, watching the puffs rise out of the water like an old organ pipe playing a forgotten tune.
The whales were still at a distance. Yet deep inside of me I yearned for the moment, wondering what it might be like to be with them, moving with them and by their side. I wondered what stories they had to tell, what adventures, good or bad. I thought of giant squid or the raging currents they must have faced. The raw power and determination, the oldest sailors in the world, following a path since time immemorial.
These thoughts deeply touched my soul. So much that I closed my eyes and tried to reach out and touch them with my mind.
To my surprise I felt cold. Water moved about me. Where I had been a moment ago, nestled in a warm jacket with my wife, I found myself moving forward with masses of large bodies all about me.
I felt cold yet I did not know where I was. And yet I was not cold. I felt intelligence all around me. Thoughts and communication flowing through me.
The water was a deep green. Huge brown bodies, far bigger than mine carried me forward. It was as if I was caught up in an age old path carved by the ancestors of those around me!
In the midst of all of this I felt something or someone touch my thoughts.
“Who are you?” came a deep resounding voice inside my mind.
Spellbound, I could not answer. The power of moving flesh and determination to move ever forward overwhelmed my senses.
“Who are you?” Again the voice filled my mind.
“I am Jon.” I replied back with my mind.
“Who are you, one named Jon?” the voice filling my every pore of consciousness.
“I am a human.”
There was a brief moment of silence.
“ A human would have a body, and between us all there is nothing but water,” replied the voice casually.
Looking around me I saw that, in fact, there was no body. I could see and feel the whales, but where was I? A moment earlier I was on a pier with my wife. But ‘I’ was here and in the middle of all the whales!
This was a riddle for me. How could I be in two places at once? Could I even be in two places at once?
Years of religion did not prepare me for this moment. And yet I was conscious and where I was and what was happening was very real to me.
Being an artist and a dreamer, I considered that I must be dreaming pretty good. But when I dreamed, I could not control my thoughts or think and experience as I was at this very moment!
I had always known I had a soul. I also knew I had a body. At this very moment I realized these two things were actually separate and different. At that moment I had a realization.
Without further thought or understanding I could only comment what I thought had just happened.
“All humans have bodies and they hold souls. They are each separate but needed. So I guess you are talking to my soul, to me.”
There was a brief moment of silence.
“I understand, one named Jon. We have such a thing as well, but we call it differently. I have never met a human soul before, one named Jon. We have always considered all living things to have this thing you call a soul. You are the first human we have met to share this with us. It is a happy and good thing to know.”
Sometimes you have to let go of your fear. Sometimes you have to let go of your own reality. Sometimes life opens a door for you and you just have to step through that door. Call it a window, call it whatever you want. But it is real to you.
There was an acceptance of what I had said. Could this be a dream?
Thoughts flowed to me about the passing of time and distances. Time was differently measured although the same with these huge and yet flowing beings.
I felt myself suspended, moving and real. And yet I doubted what I was hearing and experiencing. I had read and heard about ‘out of body experiences’ and even another word ‘exteriorization.’
But was it really happening to me? Was I just dreaming?
Then the voice came to me again, as if it had been listening all the while to my own questions and the questioning of my own sanity.
“No, one named Jon, you are not dreaming and this is very real. We must turn now as it is our destiny and time to do so. Our journey has not ended and we have further to go. But to show you that this is real we will say goodbye – NOW!”
Instantly I found myself back at the end of the pier, eyes viewing the spectacle lying before me. My wife was nestled in my arms and I felt warm.
Seven whales leaped simultaneously into the air, each at a different angle! It was not a breach, which is what whales do to catch plankton or small shrimp. No, it was a jump for joy and for freedom.
For a friend. All the people around me saw the profound moment. They ran up to each other, asking each other if they had seen what had just occurred.
In my mind I heard a soft voice fading:
“Goodbye, one named Jon.”
My wife and I stood there in awe. All cold had left us, replaced with joy. To this day we still remember that spectacular moment.
“Did you see that?” Voices rang out about us.
“Never seen that, ever, in my whole life,” said an old fisherman next to me.
“They must’ve been happy about something.”
I was at a loss for words, which is not often. And yet I experienced something far greater than I had ever experienced in my life.
The rules of life and what I thought came tumbling down.
And yet it was real. And others experienced it. Others saw it. And others witnessed the joy!
That night I lay in my sleeping bag, next to my wife, listening to the wind. The tent swayed and bent with the wind’s force but held firm as we began to fall off into a deep slumber. For as hard as the wind seemed to blow, there was yet a deeper peace that surrounded us. Far off in the distance I could hear the song of whales and a timeless journey.
The day’s experience was similar to my very first, where, at the age of two I discovered that I was not the only one who could think, talk or speak my mind. That life did speak and you only had to listen.
Life had placed me on a different road and the more I was willing to freely experience it, the more I would learn from it. The less I resisted life and made myself open to life, the greater the beauties and experiences there were to behold.
Some can say it was and is a gift, others could say it is a burden.
To me, it is simply life.
As a conscious species, we must do all that we can to help whales to continue to exist
There are thousands of people that care about this planet and its natural balance. We as a race do have an opportunity to be the caretakers of this planet; it is all that we have. And that includes all life on this tiny planet we call Earth. It’s for that reason alone we should care more about all the creatures of this planet, including whales.