2012 June 23, Saturday
Searching for the whale "Dome"
Gulf of Maine, east of Cape Cod
With Tropical Storm Debby threatening our return flight to New Orleans, we were pretty sure this might have to be our last day to fly the Gulf of Maine, or we'd be staying here for the week (which would have been great, but not for our own critters and obligations back in the Gulf of Mexico!). Still, we couldn't justify the cost just to fly out there and take more cool photos. Until the phone call came -- this time a well-known and loved female humpback "Dome" was photographed with fishing gear and netting all over her, and an orange buoy hanging off her side. Rescue boats and crews were mobilized, but they could not find her; could we go help? Of course! But most of the office staff had already left early for weekend whale-watching duties. We needed a good spotter.
Enter Regina, the Executive Director (for North America) of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. There isn't a better spotter! It would be a dream to get her to come along. Regina and her dedicated staff and interns spend most of their days on boats and their nights at computers, processing and analyzing photographs of whales. They are all trained and experienced marine biologists, but the most remarkable thing about them is how they know most of these humpback whales individually. They know which moms have had calves this year, the condition of their weight and overall health, their scars, etc. Each of the whales has a name, even! I had the privilege of staying at their office/house during this trip, and I saw them work firsthand. Almost 24 hour per day there are people working in the large central office, discussing scars and weight and other observations of the week, keeping track of who (of the whales) hasn't been seen yet, their overall condition, etc.
Well, she was there when we got the call, and she knew "Dome", and how could she not come along? We headed straight for where the humpback activity had been the greatest. It was as if the whales knew they had a very special spectator. The boys (I assume?) were showing off like crazy! Back breaches, side breaches, fin- and tail-slapping, you name it, they were doing it. Even the finback whales seemed to be in finest form today. All of that would have made my day, but we weren't there to photograph the show. We couldn't even take the time to circle twice to catch another breach. As soon as we determined that the whales we were looking at were free of fishing gear, we moved on to the next sighting.
Not long into the flight, Regina started making exclamations I didn't understand. Things like "Oh Sirius, that is Sirius!" ("Am I serious about what, Regina?") "No! That whale, over there! We haven't seen him yet this year!" I realized that even though I wasn't trying to give her good photographs, she was back there practically hanging out of the windows getting them! And she knew what she was looking at. In only about 45 minutes of my maneuvering the airplane quickly and her clicking her camera madly, Regina had managed to identify eight individual whales, many of which had not been seen yet this year and had become the subject of concern at the WDCS office. "Fulcrum", "Sirius", Putter", "Loon" and "Ventisca", "Anchor", "Abrasion", and "Stub"... When we got back to the office, she proceeded to point them all out to me in the photos, and I will try to show them to you here! But best you ask her sometime...
Anyway, enjoy the show. And enjoy knowing that there are people who devote their lives to seriously monitoring the well-being of these animals! We humans may not all be so bad as stewards to our oceans, after all. People like Regina give me real encouragement for the human race.
Here are maps of today's flight with some of our favorite photos from today. The first three whales of the "favorite" photos are among those identified -- specifically I think they are "Fulcrum", "Sirius", and the third has "Abrasion" on the left and "Stub" on the middle. (You can kind of tell how those two got named!)
Following those are the photo galleries -- including one devoted entirely to photos of all of the whales that Regina identified individually (plus a list of them and their positions and photograph numbers at the bottom of this article). See if you could recognize them if you saw them again!
[Update on Dome: As of July 2, she was still entangled but was managing to feed and move and nurse her calf. Boat crews continue to try to help her, and she continues to keep them away from her calf, and thus unfortunately, away from being able to help her. ]
Here are photos of the whales individually identified today: (To see the names that go with each image, see the list below.)
And here are some photos of the other whales we looked at carefully today (plus a leatherback sea turtle!):
Here is the list of individually identified whales, their positions at the times we saw them, and image numbers. (Sorry I missed copying down the info on Anchor!)
IDENTIFIED WHALES (by Regina of WDCS) - 20120623 on OWOC flight east of Chatham, MA
a. IMG_4377, 1259 EDT (1159 EST per GPS track):
N41 35.60', W069 41. And
b. IMG_4446: 1314 EDT (1214 EST):
(same approximate location as above)
a. IMG_4472--4480, 1317 EDT (1217 EST per GPS track):
N41 37 W069 42
a. IMG_4532, 1326 EDT (1226 EST per GPS track):
N41 36.6 W069 42.4
4. Loon (front left) & Ventisca (bottom left)
a. IMG_4634, 1345 EDT (1245 EST per GPS track):
N41 35.9 W069 40.6
5. Abrasion (left) & Stub (middle)
a. IMG_4823, 1405 EDT (1305 EST per GPS track):
N 41 35.7 W069 44.1
"The Story of Pellie Lou - a Pelican who survived the Gulf of Mexico oil spill"
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With 46 photos from the Gulf of Mexico.
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Read about our rescues under Rescue Tails!
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Adios to hunger, Bienvenidos a Love!
20130611- Seven lucky rescued dogs from Mexico are now being fed and pampered in southern California, and are ready for their forever families!
From Streets to Royalty!
20130610 - Feline Patience and Humanity at their best brought these two beautiful kitties from despair to delight, after some superb rescue and logistical efforts by rescue groups from all across the country. (This is a "Before" photo! Check out the "After" photos!)
A Dog Named Pepper Doesn't Give up Easily on Life!
20130428 - This 15-yr-old deaf, blind, arthritic senior held out in a hot, dry, desert parking lot until love finally found him!
CHAZ - No Ordinary Extraordinary Cur!
20130422 - Left to die but instead, this super-intelligent deep-hearted dog discovered love, family, and even fun -- from the most unlikely mentors!
Turbulent Trails for Tails from TX-20130413
Six rescue dogs from east Texas find forever homes in Nevada and California!
Who was rescued, and who was the rescuer? Anyone who has known this kind of bond has felt something so deep, so real, so ancient, that it cannot be described with words. These bonds ground us and free us from pettiness in our lives. Thank you Sheba. Rest in peace.
A Letter From Your Admirers! 20121231
This was a last-minute challenge that seemed beyond even our own grandest heroic imaginings. But it turned out not to be beyond the devoted hearts and energies of about 30 rescuers, shelter staff, volunteers, and families working together. Forty-three (yes, 43!) dogs in one day, from dead-ends in a Porterville shelter to homes and real lives with real humans who love and want them. Rescuers ROCK!
Orphaned very young, left alone and hungry til her fur fell out and her skin was covered with mange. Thanks to some big-hearted Texas rescuers, not only did she recover, she found the family who wanted to love her forever. How glad we were to be able to give this little pup with the big paws the ride to the rest of her life!
20121205-Blackie Goes Home at Last, and Taylor Turns Texan!
Four long months since Blackie's lifelong human companion and partner Tammy suffered a serious injury from a passing truck and disappeared from his life. Suddenly Blackie was in a shelter kennel, and Tammy fought for her life as she dreamed of her beloved dog. Thanks to many people, both of these souls survived to find each other again! This was a rescue and a reunion we'll never forget.
The same rains that made us work "On WHEELS Of Care" this week kept us grounded for this trip, which serendipitously combined the transport of Skip northward and the joyful and miraculous reunion of Miss T'Chen, who had been rescued and taken to Illinois after Hurricane Isaac, with her family in Baton Rouge!
This flight went almost as planned, and our plane was filled to over-flowing on every leg. And we met some wonderful new cat and dog rescues in Idaho and Oregon!
20 Lucky rescued dogs flown to homes in Canada!
2012 Sep 22
It turned out to a journey full of unexpected challenges, but these 20 lucky lovable canines who had been through the worst of times in California were just the best through it all, and now they are warming the hearts and laps and lives of some very lucky Canadian families!
Spindletop Scandal and the Search for Scarlett
2012 July 17 - present
With pitbull-like tenacity, we wouldn't take "NO" for an answer. Out of 21 dogs we sought, we have closure on all but two. Alas, one of those two is our Scarlett.
Tale of seven cities, six cats, and five goats!
2012 July 16
Who knows if the pleas for help brought the plane, or vice-versa.
But when serendipity puts this much together, there's no saying no!
Homeless Mom and Pups no More!
2012 July 08
Sometimes rescuers find the IDEAL person to adopt that animal in need ...
themselves! And in the process, a hole gets filled for the entire family.
This lucky mom now lives with Bear, Sheba, and Dave!
From Empty Nest to Love Fest!
2012 May 11
That last urgent plea came for the five orphaned pups ...
but what about the two large senior boys who would probably never get adopted?
Some people are just angels, meant to be who they are and where they are.
Check out these two and their new happy pack!
JEREMIAH has come home to us!
UPDATE 2012 July 7!
2012 January 13
His adopter called to say she had become ill, and could we care for Jeremiah? You bet we could. We rented a plane and flew to Arizona and retrieved him immediately. Jeremiah was indeed a true friend, and we aim to be his true friends, too. He has been eating like crazy and slept his stress away for the first few days, and now he's acting like a young dog again. Read more here!
CHAMP found at the airport!
2012 January 01
A sad, scared but dignified young Champ quickly won the hearts of everyone who met him at the New Orleans airport, and within two days we had permission from his original breeders to give him to a young couple with a younger female boxer mix, all of whom fell totally in love with him at first sight! Champ and Miss Princess are leading the good life now, and Champ's new dad finally has the fishing buddy he wanted! They tell us we made their dreams come true. We think they made Champ's come true, too.
Abby & Dinozo -- Two of a Kind!
2011 September--2012 January
Orphaned brother and sister, rescued and adored until calamity struck and they lost their family. Orphaned again, these gentle gems and perfect canine citizens found love and adventure with us until we found them their true forever home! Abby & Dinozo came with us to Washington January 7, and they were welcomed warmly and immediately into a home. Read more here!
Yo! Get a Load of Yolo!
2011 November--2012 January
Left in the cold, high in the mountains of southern California, life was over before it had barely begun for this orphan teenager.
Little did he know, his adventures had only begun! As of January 7, it's back to snow but this time with a family who adores him, and lots of fun and play in the Pacific Northwest!
Saving Scarlett -- Love Forever at Last!
Found on the streets, teats full but puppies absent, a battle-torn very hungry pitbull.
Hardly that sought-after doggie in the window.
But after we brought Miss Scarlett home to love and food, warmth and stuffed animals,
we discovered a warm heart and sweet spirit that changed us forever.
2011 July--September 29, A Joyful Reunion At Last!
Here they are during their flight with four other dogs Sep 29 (New Orleans to Oakland, CA, fuel stop in Roswell, NM).
And here's a photo from the happiest reunion ever!
More photos and updated videos here!
Sheba-Cosette - this lovely lady waited a lifetime!
Jeremiah - a true friend finds a new lease on life!
Two Giant Dogs & three cats reunited with their family on Whidbey Island, WA
Chihuahuas "Betty" & "JellyBean" fly to their rescue in Bremerton, WA!
New Year's Rescue: 33 dogs & cats are flown to rescue in the Pacific Northwest!
Hounds fending for themselves for years in Alabama fly to rescue in Arizona!
Romo & Stanley are flown to safe havens in Arizona!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2013
2013 Jun 08 - Bayou Corne #8
2012 May 06 - Bayou Corne #7
2013 Apr 12 - Mayflower, AR Pipeline Spill
2013 Apr 02 - Bayou Corne #6
2013 Mar 23 - IMMS Marine Mammals
2013 Mar 19 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#5
2013 Feb 15 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#4
2013 Jan 26 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#3
2012 Dec 24 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#2
2012 Nov 08 - Tar Sands and Texas
2012 Aug 30 - Hurricane Isaac Conquered
2012 Aug 28 - Hurricane Isaac Arrives!
2012 Aug 13 - Sinkhole in Bayou Corne, LA
2012 Jun 13-Dispersant Spraying Exercise off LA
2012 April - Chronicles of the Endeavor
2012 Dec 10 - How Dilute is Dilute Enough?
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2012
Sat Nov 17 - Platform Explosion
Wed Nov 14 - Barrier Islands 1
Sat Nov 10 - OIL
Fri Nov 09 - OIL
Sat Oct 06 - Whale Sharks
Fri Oct 05 - OIL
Fri Sep 14 - OIL
Sun Sep 09 - Hurricane Isaac
Sun Aug 12 - Whale Sharks
Wed Jul 11 - Whales & More
Fri Jun 29 - Whale Sharks & More
Dominica - The Nature Island!
On Wings Of Care flies to the Eastern Caribbean for whales and sea turtles!
Read more here!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2011
Sperm Whales & Whale Sharks:
Cape Cod, MA
Our Gift for YOU for 2011!
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from your heart, out!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf, 2010
Galapagos Veterinary Support
Galapagos vets do much with little,
thanks to true friends who shipped a TON of supplies and meds from the U.S. in June, 2011.
“Man can no longer live for himself alone. We must realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship with the universe.”