A Prize for Naming Ocean Life

 Reardon  © 2016

Reardon ©2016

This freshly made artwork doesn’t have a title yet and I’m asking, you, my readers to help name it. It portrays a blue whale but it’s up to you to decide what the other elements in the piece portray.

If I use your suggestion, you’ll receive a free set of my hand-dyed Seven Seas Prayer Flags to hang in your house.

Naming the Whales

As you might expect, whales get named when we can see them. This is usually because they were captured, are in rehab facilities for rescue, or because they have well-known coastal migration patterns. I’ve written about before about the power of naming local Orcas and 104-year old Granny. Also, we’ve all heard of Shamu, which is actually the “stage name” for successive Orcas housed at SeaWorld venues.

Offshore Accessibility

When it comes to the offshore whales, like the blue, it’s way harder to learn about them. It costs to even get to their neighborhood. Once we do take the time (and money) to visit, they are below the surface 90% of the time so we only see them when they come up to breathe. Unlike whales that breach with lovely leaps above the waterline, the blues are a bit more sedate. We think. We do know that the mottling patterns on their skin are variable and can be used with the dorsal fin to identify individuals. This work of building photo-identity logs has only begun with blues like Isabella below.

  Isabella in the Galapagos in 1998, at top, and in the Gulf of Corcovado in 2006. Torres-Flores et al, Marine Mammal Science, 2015

Isabella in the Galapagos in 1998, at top, and in the Gulf of Corcovado in 2006. Torres-Flores et al, Marine Mammal Science, 2015

Blue Whale Portrait

The blues are the biggest animals on the planet including the long-gone dinosaurs. There estimated weight is up to 200 tons (that’s tons) and have been measured up to 100 feet in length. They are mammals like us who nurse their young, and breathe air as we do, but they have limited family life with both males and females going their separate ways after breeding and birth. We think.

Naming the Artwork

So here’s an artpiece I made to honor them. I invite you to join in with your ideas for a title in the comments section below. (After clicking "Post Comment", click upper left hand icon to add just your name, then click Login.) We may not be naming many blue whales but we sure can name this artwork.