I’ve never considered myself to be a serious beach person. I like the sun and fun well enough, but you know those people who claim that strong of a connection that they feel like they HAVE to live by the ocean? Like, ohmigod their soul is totally connected to the sea and they just don’t know how they’d cope if they couldn’t meditate in front of the curling waves at least twice a week. I wouldn’t say that I felt that strongly about it. I can’t compete with that devotion. What I do have, however, is a deep fascination with the ocean. It’s like a far closer version of outer space. It’s so vast and mysterious and impressive. The inhabitants of the sea continue to surprise as we are get newer and newer technology which can make deeper dives. There is some freaky shit in that big salty soup pot and it boggles the mind. Can you imagine being shipwrecked in the middle of the ocean. I’d be so freaked out. Imagine what might swim up against your legs. Hopefully, a dolphin would swim along and taxi me home.
Today’s great thing is one impressive sea creature:
83. The Blue Whale
My interest in the blue whale was first sparked by Charlie Brown’s Cyclopedia book series. They were full of hundreds of easily digested factual tidbits covering a range of subjects. I would sit in the car and read them whenever my Mom dragged me out for a shopping excursion. I remember reading that a blue whale’s tongue was the size of a car and that fact absolutely exploding my eight year old brain. Because when you think about it progressively, if a blue whale’s tongue is that big then that must make the rest of the animal frakking enormous. Then, when you think about how big the whale in total must be, it makes you marvel at how ridonkulously large the ocean must be if you could go for hundreds and thousands of miles of ocean and never even see a blue whale–even though they are that big and there’s about 10,000 of them swimming around out there. WOW!
Sadly, that 10,000 (some even estimate it much lower at 2000) used to be around 300,000. But, hey, that’s us humans, constantly derailing the balance of nature. Besting animals that are thirty times our size! Blue whales can’t swallow anything larger than a beach ball…so, that’s about all it takes for us to off them…letting slip our beach toys into the undertow.
The model of a blue whale in The American Museum of Natural History in NYC has always been one of my favorite attractions. Look at it!
It’s believed to be the largest animal in existence. Ever! Bigger than dinosaurs even. The females (which are slightly larger than the males) can grow up to 110 feet long. What’s amazing about the blue whales is that they subsist entirely on tiny foods: krill, small fish, squid–the tapas of the ocean if you will. They essentially take big gulps of sea water during dives and the fibrous baleen in its mouth let the food and water through.
It is also the loudest animal in the world, a title that was previously held by my niece Maren. The blue whale’s song can be heard from over 600 miles away. Holy crap!
Here’s some cool nature vids featuring this BFG.
I love David Attenborough. Isn’t it fascinating that blue whales are descendants of land mammals and not the other way around? Nature is bonkers!
Considering how massive the blue whale is and that its diet consists basically of sea-bacos, they can move at a pretty rapid clip. They swim at speeds up to about 30 mph as a matter of fact. So, you’d probably wanna get out of the way if one was barreling down on you. Unless you want to feel what it’s like to get filtered out by baleen.
Sometimes they travel with one other whale but usually they hang out by themselves. Cuz, you know–they’ve got the blues and shit. Ba da bing! Cool.