Well...that would be a dead humpback whale...and I have a good excuse for
why I was standing on it. That whale was one of a large number of whales
that died in Cape Cod during the winter of 1988. We found out that it was
probably because they had been eating fish that had become toxic due to a
bloom of toxic algae (sort of a case of whale food poisoning). But we did
not know this at the time that picture was taken and we were examining each
whale to see if we could figure out what had killed it. What you can not
see in the picture are some other people (just out of the picture) that are
taking measurements with a long measuring tape. I was taking notes on a
clipboard when the picture was taken. Why was I up on top of the whale?
It is important to try to get a good look at the whole whale. This is
hard to do when you are standing next to it (because they are so large).
On a beach, there is no place to look down on the whale and the highest
place is...well.. on the whale...
That is also a sort of "Don't try this at home..." sort of picture (just in
case you happen to bump in to a dead whale on your way to the beach some
day). There are two reasons...first it is against the law to climb a dead
whale unless you have permission from the government (dead whales are
protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, just like live ones). I had
permission to climb that whale. Also, another thing that you can't see is
that I am wearing special boots that keep me from slipping. Yes, dead
whales can be slippery and if you slip off it can be a long way to the
ground. And believe me, it is pretty embarrassing when you have to explain
at the hospital that you hurt yourself falling off of a dead whale....
Thanks for the question,
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 9:12 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: what is that?
What is that thing youre standing on? Please write me back.
-- ``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` J. Michael Williamson Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <http://whale.wheelock.edu> Associate Professor-Science Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215 voice: 617.879.2256 fax: 617.734.8666, or 978.468.0073 "Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard your call, Wanted to sail upon your waters, since I was three feet tall" Jimmy Buffett ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' --
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