The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: dolphins

Watch a Family of Bottlenose Dolphins Rescue a Struggling Seal Pup Under Siege off Canada

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 11.13.49 AM

Screenshot from the Oasis HD video below.

The seal cub, either tired, confused or frightened, was lagging off the coast of Canada when a few gulls prepared to gang up on the lagging pup.

Suddenly, as is their mysterious wont, a family of bottlenose dolphins appeared and encouraged the young pup to keep swimming with a series of gentle nudges.

Read more»

The Unlikely Harmony Between Killer Whales and Whalers in 19th Century Australia and Other Wonders of Cetacean-Human Relations, Explored in Two New Books

cultlives

The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins, Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell, 2014.

Killer whales are xenophobic dupes. Bottlenose dolphins are rapists. We’ve come to accept these highly intellectual social constructs in other mammals, but can we come to understand that if other mammalian societies have such organized complexities, that perhaps they have implications for humankind, too? These are the questions posed by Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell, authors of The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins, and Carl Safina in his latest book, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel.

The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins by Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell–two lifelong cetacean researchers–explores the very divergent cultural constructs of orca (killer whales–dolphins, actually) and sperm whales.

Read an excerpt from The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins below:

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 8.41.11 AM

Read more»

The US Navy Agrees to Reduce Deadly Sonar for Cetaceans off California and Hawaii

bruckmanflickr

Photo: John C. Bruckman/Flickr.

Mankind is a blaring bunch, yet it’s only with the help of machines that we’ve been able to disrupt the so-called ‘Silent World’ below. And even with the advantage of technology, hardly any noise we create reaches a decibel as high as that of the blue whale, the loudest animal on earth, whose unmuffled songs would do more damage to year eardrums than the roar of a jet plane.

A couple of sounds we produce–namely sonar and seismic testing–more than make up for whatever shortcomings our clamoring may have in comparison the blue whale’s seemingly woeful melodies.

Read more»

Wish You Were Here: Tropical Storm Erika – Reborn Off Folly Beach?

ErikaRemnantPic1

The Remnants of Tropical Storm Erika. Will She Be Reborn off Charleston? Photo: Chris Dixon

Last night the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika rolled out off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina and and spun up over the Gulf Stream. This morning, the results of that spin were plainly, and beautifully apparent off Folly Beach, South Carolina.

erikaswirl

Erika’s Swirl. Photo: NOAA. 

I rolled up at the south end of Folly just after dawn this morning and was greeted by a stunning, curved arc of grey-purple clouds, green ocean and a flawless thigh high swell. I grabbed my standup paddleboard and pointed it towards an ephemeral sandbar somewhere between a half mile and a mile to the south that was showing occasional whitewater. Folly’s northern and southern stretches are ringed by these shallows. If it’s low-tide and glassy, swells wrap, bend and peel across them before disappearing into deep water. If you know where to look, well, you get the picture.

ErikaRemnantPic2

Nobody Out. As is Usually the Case. Photo: Chris Dixon

Read more»

Dolphins as Midwives? The Mother-to-Be Who’s Forgoing Hospitals and Nurses for an Open-Ocean, Cetacean-Assisted Waterbirth

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 10.50.38 AM

Dorina Rosin and her partner Maika Suneagle have decided to give birth in the ocean, hoping for a pod of dolphins off Hawaii’s Big Island to act as midwives. Photo: Photo: © Channel 4 (Great Britain). Video below.

Science journalist Christie Wilcox wrote for Discover Magazine in 2013 that the concept of seeking dolphins as midwives “has to be, hands down, one of the worst natural birthing ideas anyone has ever had . . .” Considering the myriad documentation we have of their bullying and raping of not only one another but different species, including humans, she may have a point.

But, we have far more history with these magnificent creatures suggesting that they tend to be much more affectionate, or at least intuitive toward human beings, especially those of us in distress.

Read more»

“If Everybody Did Something, We’d Get Somewhere…” Susan Casey Talks Story About Leaving Oprah and Writing Her New Book, Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins

susan-casey-swimming-with-dolphins_h

Susan Casey swims with the dolphins. Photo: Susan Casey.

Former Editor of O: The Oprah Magazine and creative director for Outside Magazine Susan Casey, is author of New York Times bestsellers The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks and The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean. Just this month, she’s released her third title, Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins.

I caught up with her in the midst of her book tour to find out how she came to pack up her New York City office and leave her editorship at O, The Oprah Magazine, and embark upon a 5-year research project which led her around the world from Hawaii and The Solomon Islands to Japan and Greece.

voices

In Voices in the Ocean, we learn that dolphins, which shed their fur, ditched their legs and crawled into the sea 55 million years ago, are not only equipped with larger, more developed brains than ours, but also bear greater emotional capacity than humans. In fact, as you’ll read, we are inferior to dolphins in almost every way. Between their sonar capabilities and oversized noggins, it’s no wonder NASA and several of the world’s Navies have called on the dolphin for help time and time again.

Casey takes us from the early days of of mad scientists experimenting with psychoactive drugs and even interspecies romance to the post-Flipper Sea World craze–a trade, which we learn is run by a bunch of ruthless gangsters, is still reaching new heights today. Through scientific lenses hard and soft, she explores an almost fantastical array of the miracles and tragedies of our complex relationships with these creatures which dates at least as far back as the Minoans of modern-day Greece, 5,000 years ago.


caseynotes

Photo Courtesy: Susan Casey.

The Scuttlefish: Voices in the Ocean is beautifully written – and you clearly got your nails dirty with the research. Reading it made me realize that that’s where I fell in love with the ocean, too —with dolphins. Flipper, specifically, did it for me. I wanted to be Sandy, in that little skiff living in Florida. That looked pretty good when I was a kid. Still does, as a matter of fact!

Susan Casey: Oh, me too. It does for all of us.

So, what led you to decide to leave your editorship with O?  Did you get the idea for the book while you were there, was being in a New York City office too stifling, and is that why you dove into this new book?

I was working on the book while I was still at the magazine. I was doing some reporting, and thinking about the proposal. I don’t mind being in New York, but I’m not a lifer. I can spend periods of time there and be perfectly happy, but then I have to leave.  Part of me is always in Hawaii, and that’s been the case since I wrote The Wave. I had a place there, and I was going as much as I could. But it’s a haul from New York—a 12-hour flight. 

Read more»

Here’s What You Should Know About the Littlest Porpoise and What You Can Do to Help Them.

natgeovaq.jpg

Above: The vaquita (Phocoena sinus). Photo: Flip Nicklin, Minden Pictures/Corbis.

The vaquita is a tiny endangered porpoise that exists within a narrow 1,500-square-mile patch of the Pacific Ocean around Baja, California with a dwindling population of less than 100 as of late 2014.

As is the case with many cetaceans that find themselves fouled in fishing nets, they’re not the target species. Oriental interest in the swim bladder of another endangered specimen, the totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), has fishermen in Mexico setting nets in waters shared by the vaquita.

Read more»

Bottlenose Dolphins and Humpback Whales Share their Spirit and Intelligence to Make Up a New Game

dolphinhumpback

Image of a bottlenose dolphin and humpback whale ‘playing’. Photo by Lori Mazzuca. Marine Mammal Biologist at US Navy SPAWAR Systems Centre Pacific.

Watching YouTube videos about interspecies friendships, such as a dog and an elephant, makes everyone’s heart melt. There is something so sweet about animals connecting to one another, even if they typically assume the role of predator and prey in the wild or other settings. But one fairly unusual pairing has caught the interest of whale watchers and scientists in Hawaii.

Read more»