Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Freshwater Whales

I know I have mentioned my fondness for whales and other marine mammals in the past. And I am eagerly anticipating my next visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to see their new exhibit on otters.

But the local news is full of the latest visit from wayward whales to the Sacramento River delta. And really, the coverage is pretty good, at least until I got to this sentence:
They likely got into the north delta area by swimming up the deep and wide Sacramento River from San Pablo Bay.
Ya think?

Now, maybe you need to know a little about the environment to get this, but basically, there's only one way to get to Sacramento from the ocean if you're a whale, and that would be it. In the Golden Gate, around a couple of islands, up through San Pablo Bay, and hey, you're in the delta.

From our friends at the National Park Service:
This Pacific Coast contains the only opening to the interior of the state for nearly 1,000 miles of coastline. The Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers drain nearly 40% of the watersheds in California. And all of this flows out of the Golden Gate.
OK, maybe I'm being a little hard on them. After all, the reporters probably read this book. I can see where one might mistake that for a nature documentary.

Anyway, it's not the first time this has happened. Back in 1985, I was working for the congressman who represented the district the whale was swimming through, so needless to say we were paying attention, even from 3,000 miles away. At least they haven't named these whales. Yet. But I fully expect to see our current Lieutenant Governor capitalizing on rescuing these whales any minute now.


Laura E. Goodin said...

Two whales were desporting themselves in Sydney Harbour a few years back. Some wag instantly named them "Gareth" and "Cheryl" after two federal politicians who had recently been revealed as having an affair -- not coincidentally, they were both more than a little on the hefty side. Alas for me, I found it hilarious....

Anonymous said...

With no help from me, I promise you, the whales have been named "Delta" and "Dawn". An estmated ten thousand people made their way to the levee to admire them today, even after being asked not to do so because it's bad for the whales and it's bad for the levee.

I assume another children's book will come of this. I don't suppose the book will stress the negative impact humans have on these gracious creatures.

Chard said...

It figures.

Maybe this explains why I had that song stuck in my head the other day. I know I hadn't heard about the whale names, so it was either prescience or something entirely random.


Jessica said...

I've been resisting the urge to run out to Rio Vista with a video camera and Spock Monkey for a sock monkey reenactment of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Chard said...

I was terribly afraid someone was going to name them "George" and "Gracie," which would have made the Spock Monkey scene all but inevitable.

In fact, I was concerned that the whales had gone amiss while looking for the Cetacian Institute in Sausalito, when we all know it's really in Monterey. Or at least, it looks a lot like it.