This gray whale mother is on a mission – to get her and her calf to their summer feeding grounds in the cold Arctic seas above Alaska.
Dear Whale-Curious Friends,
It’s remarkable! The largest animal in the world feeds on one of the ocean’s smallest creatures.
I saw orcas off the coast of Newport Beach, CA (USA) on January 7th! They were a rarely seen pod of Eastern Tropical Pacific killer whales, including 1 large male and 1 calf. Thanks to the Gray Whale Census Team and Alisa Schulman-Janiger for first spotting them from land at Palos Verdes while counting gray whales. Thank you also to my employer, Capt. Dave’s Dolphin Safari, for bringing us to the whales. I’ve included my photos of these beautiful creatures, taken at sunset. The tall, distinctive dorsal fin in the top photo is that of the male orca.
These types of killer whales, identified by their darker saddle area behind the dorsal fin, are usually seen from south of San Diego to Central Amercia. Because they are rarely seen, we don’t know much about them yet. It was a very fortunate sighting, indeed.
Check out the drone footage of these orcas taken by Newport Coastal Adventure at: Newport Coastal Adventure/YouTube and read more about this killer whale visit at: OC Register On-line. You can also hear my song about another type of orca, called Southern Resident Killer Whales, in my previous blog post. Sightings such as these and the opportunity to teach about cetaceans are two of the many reasons why I love my job as First Mate and Naturalist.
Glad to be singing on the sea,
A few years ago, I wrote this song, “Orcas”, as a celebration of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Today I am re-posting this music video in memory of Granny (J-2), Doublestuf (J-34), Polaris (J-28), Rhapsody (J-32) and the other endangered SRKWs who have died since I released this song. May their beautiful spirits continue to teach us and inspire us to protect their remaining family members. Thank you for watching.
Dear Ocean-Loving Friends,
When I am out at sea observing marine animals, I often wonder what’s going on in the ocean that I can’t see. Imagine my delight as I began to learn about plankton, the countless tiny living things that are floating and drifting in the world’s oceans and other bodies of water. These tiny organisms, most of which are too small to be seen without a powerful microscope, include plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton). Plankton are the foundation of the food chain that supports fish and other sea creatures—and the people who eat them. Phytoplankton also provides us with over 50% of the oxygen we breathe.
Watch my spider song-in-progress video:
I’m so excited! My producer, Jim Coffey of Blue Vision Music, has finished the instrumentals for my spider song; and I want to give you a sneak peek in time for Halloween, a holiday that celebrates spiders, spirits and other creatures of the night.
Jim has done an amazing job of matching my vision for this song, which included using string instruments that are plucked and played in ways that help the listener to imagine the work of a spider in its web.
I look forward to recording my vocals in the studio soon and releasing my spider song as a single. In the meantime, enjoy this sneak peek of a song that honors a weaver of silk and master designer of webs. My friends, meet the amazing spider!
Weaving webs of song and connection,
P.S. Check out our video blog post about spider webs:
“Watch a Spider Construct Its Web”
Dear Whale-Loving Friends,
This video by Chip Richards reminds me of the day I wrote my *“Humpback Whale Song” for kids. I put on a recording of humpback whales singing. As I listened to their songs, I felt such deep emotions and I started playing my guitar and humming a tune that turned into these words: “The most incredible songs I’ve ever heard, come from the sea and they have no words. They’re the beautiful sounds of the humpback whales, singing their songs, telling their tales, in oceans all around the world.”
As I watch this incredible video, “Singing With the Whales”, I am reminded of the inspiration and love that that whales and dolphins invoke in us. When there is an encounter and exchange between the whales and humans (like the one is this video), I am reminded of the intelligence of the animal world and that we all share this same beautiful planet.
Your singing cetacean naturalist,
*”Humpback Whale Song” can be found on our CD IF I WERE A FISH and Other Animal Songs for Kids.
One of the things I love about foggy, dew-thick mornings is watching all the spider webs reveal themselves. What has caught your attention in nature today?
I have been mesmerized and mystified by spiders and their webs for years now. So much so that I’ve written a song about them, and it will be recorded and released in early 2017. Stay tuned! In the meantime, you can listen to a sneak preview of it in my spider song music video.
Your song-weaving friend,