Between the wind, the sun and the rocking boat (and stomach), my mind began to wander…..If you look closely at the picture above, you can see the baleen which is what these whales use to filter their food from water. And then I realized, this was the very same material used for stiffening corsets from the 16th through the 19th century. Baleen is like human fingernails and the material could easily be shaped when steamed, and holds its form when dry.
I am still on vacation. Lovely vacation in fact. Yesterday it was “off to see the whales”. Only once in my life did I see whales. Two of them to be precise way off in the distance. We needed binoculars to see them. Today we saw 60 humpback whales, rolling, breaching, jumping, mouths gaping, feeding all around us. It was a spectacular sight….unsettling at times, as they were really, I mean REALLY close to the boat we were in. And these animals are 50 feet long each. That’s 16 meters, my European friends. There is something special about these enormously intelligent mammals besides their immense size which has inspired myths and stories.