The Unexplained: Mystery of the Whales

[Men Standing Around Whale at Port Arthur, Texas], photograph, March 18, 1910; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth202827/: accessed December 11, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Museum of the Gulf Coast.

When the whale was hauled ashore, a local adult Sunday School class held a meeting about Jonah in the gaping mouth of the beast.

I wrote about one of my favorite strange events over eight years ago.  It was about when Moby Dick came to Texas. The article appeared in Venture Galleries.

In 1910, an old bull sperm whale traveled up a new ship channel in Port Arthur.  The old whale was tired, confused, and very near the end of its life.  It was not normal for whales to even be in this area, and the whale became mired in seaweed.

A ship captain witnessed the event, and with help, lassoed the fluke of the whale.  The ship captain had the good intention of towing the whale back out into deep water, but he soon had dollar signs in his eyes as he realized the whale was not long for this world.

The animal was towed further up the channel where tickets were sold to view him, and later he was hauled onto the shore where more tickets were sold and trains brought in loads of people from far and wide.  A local adult Sunday School class even held a meeting about Jonah in the gaping mouth of the beast.

Another bizarre whale story broke on my birthday in 2019.  I don’t remember having a wild three-day celebration, but some type of interference must have happened because I don’t remember this news item—and I would have remembered it.

Sara Marie Hogg

It went like this:  members of a conservation group studying an island in the Amazon river were alerted by a crew of fishermen who had made a startling discovery.  The conservation group followed and soon noticed vultures circling an area of vegetation, and they could not ignore the bad smell.

They ventured into the area warily as they parted the bushes for a view.  They were dumbstruck.  There was a 10,000-pound animal and it was dead all right.  How on earth did the huge creature get there on the island?  Did it fall from a helicopter sling?  That was the only logical thing that came to mind.  It was a baby humpback whale.

The conservation group, known as Bicho D’Agua, set about to examine the situation.  The animal was totally lifeless and jammed up against a row of tough bushes—it seemed by force.  The scene was surreal.

The pale, striped, blob was at least twenty-six feet long, with a striking and perfect fluke, though it was at least fifty feet from the island’s shoreline, well up in the brush and vegetation.

The Marajo Island was formed in the Amazon River delta in the eastern part of Brazil—an area of the rain forest and jungle.  Following this eerie tale prompted me to study a map, and it is interesting how anything like this could have happened.

No one had noticed a huge foundering animal in the water.  There are populated villages not far away.  No violent storms had been reported.

The Marajo Island is not a stranger to colorful creatures.  It is remarkable for its flora and fauna, some of the creatures are water buffalo, piranhas, caimans, and a large variety of wading birds.

The conservation group contains several oceanographers, but they consulted other scientists and all were baffled.  An autopsy was performed on the whale.  I could not find an exact autopsy report,  but it is thought that the calf got lost from its pod and starved to death.

We must also wonder why its mother allowed this to happen.  The baby whale was about twelve months old and it had probably been dead for about five days before discovery.

Humpback whales are not common in the area at the time of year when it was found.  They are in the south Atlantic from August to November, not in January and February.

It is another unexplained mystery.

SMH

Please click HERE to find It Rises from the Pee Dee by Sara Marie Hogg.

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