Underwater Majesty

If you need a little serenity to get you through the work week, this should help:

Rare Sperm Whale Encounter on E/V Nautilus

This incredible footage was recorded yesterday during a ROV dive by Hercules (the deepest ROV with mechanized arms, high resolution cameras and sampling capacities) & Argus (also fitted with high-res cameras and tethered above Hercules) from E/V Nautilus. Exclamations and excitement echoed from the ship to shore as the worldwide audience marveled at this natural close encounter with a curious mammal.

Such an incredible show of curiosity from the largest toothed whale species and deepest diving Cetacean. Sperm whales regularly hunt at depths of 3,280 ft. for their favorite prey: the Giant Squid, or as referred to in this video – the Kracken! Diving to these depths causes the whale to hold its breath for 90 minutes!!  Another fascinating characteristic of the Sperm whale is the fluid inside its head called spermaceti, a substance theorized by scientists to help control buoyancy as this animal swims and dives to various depths. This fluid, which hardens into a wax in cold temperatures, was originally thought to be the whale’s actual sperm, hence the mistaken name given to it by whalers in the 1800s. However, one certain thing was how this mysterious oil could be used: it could be added to ointments, creams, and candles to act as a lubricant that was flavorless and odorless. Using sperm oil in lanterns emitted a clear, bright and clean flame which was less foul than any other oil used at the time. Fortunately, kerosene became the best alternative in the late 19th century, following bans on whaling practices and the sale or use of substances derived from whaling.

Legends abound in sailor lore about Sperm whales swallowing boats and swallowing men as in the famous account of the Essex whaleship (which inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick), though some of these accounts can be debated, misconstrued and doubted – the epic battles depicted between the whale and the squid are entirely true.


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