The New Hunt for the Right Whale
Eighty kilometres south of Bar Harbor, Maine, on a raw day in December 2012, the research vessel Endeavor was surfing a storm through whale country. Thirty-five knots of wind had coaxed the sea in Jordan Basin into vast swells that rolled the 300-tonne ship from side to side, sometimes breaking in showers of icy salt water over the bow. The ocean around the boat was steely grey beneath a shower of rain and sleet. The crew of the Endeavor had come to sea to look for whales, but they couldn’t see a thing.
Moira Brown, known to all as Moe, scanned the slate-coloured waves. Brown had spent the past 30 years trying to protect the North Atlantic right whale, the desperately endangered species that was supposed to live in the patch of ocean heaving around them. For most of those 30 years, staring out at the ocean was the only way to find right whales — and, in a storm like this, spotting even one would be close to impossible. Only a few years ago, this research trip might have been cancelled.
But this time, the Endeavor team had a set of ears in the water.
Find out just what these researchers are using in Lateral Magazine.