More than ten years ago, I first laid eyes on the largest animal that Earth has ever seen: the blue whale. And luck was on my side again this summer, as on the morning of August 30, I had the unexpected pleasure of finding myself in the company of no fewer than four blue whales on one cruise.

Peaceful: this is the adjective that comes to mind to describe these behemoths when I see them rise to the surface to breathe. Their unique colour – a beautiful speckled blue – is eye-catching. And what a thrill it is when their gigantic tail rises into the air before they dive!

The sight of this mammal in particular always triggers in me the same contemplation. Blue whales are as gigantic as they are fragile; seemingly so contradictory, and yet… I also have great respect for them because they alone represent thousands or even millions of years of evolution. When we observe their endless back glide serenely across the surface, it is literally a part of history with a capital “H” unfolding before our eyes. There’s good reason to be impressed!

Rorqual bleu © GREMM
Blue whale © GREMM

This is already my last week as a research assistant at the GREMM. Although I have a heavy heart leaving such a rich marine environment, I know that I am privileged to have enjoyed this extraordinary experience. Thank you, Whales Online readers, for your interest!

DSC_0038Audrey Tawel-Thibert joined the GREMM team this year. As part of the photo-census program of large rorquals in the Marine Park, she collects photos and data on board tour boats. She also shares this information with the editorial team of Whales Online. 

Field Notes - 6/9/2016

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