Creature Thoughts, June 2019: Salt the Humpback Whale

Salt, The Humpback Whale

Salt and Soya
Salt (r.) and her 2006 calf, Soya
Photo by the Center for Coastal Studies

This month’s article is an adaptation of something I recently posted on Facebook. I am still so very pleased about this, however, that I wanted to share it with my newsletter readers as well.

When my kids were very little, we adopted a whale through the Whale Adoption Project. She was one of a group that summered at Stellwagen Bank (off the coast of Massachusetts), and we adopted her for quite a few years in a row. Her name was Salt, and there had been a children’s book written about her and her first calf, Crystal.

Interest in Salt led me to be included among an honored group of people who advocated for Stellwagen to be made a National Marine Sanctuary. I had two thick books of information to read, forms to fill out, and included a personal letter of recommendation. Stellwagen achieved that status in 1992.

Our love of Salt filtered into my kids’ school; my daughter’s class adopted their own whale, and in 5th grade, she went on a whale watch trip (I can’t recall why I couldn’t go, but have always regretted not being there).

Fast forward to this month. A discussion with friends got me thinking about Salt, so I hit Google. I found her. Although the page I located first was out of date,  I could see that she was still alive and sighted annually through its most recent update. I emailed the sanctuary through their website, and heard the next day from a lovely lady named Anne-Marie.

Not only was Salt still alive (which would put her in her mid-40s), Anne-Marie herself had seen her last fall, and in 2016, she had been sighted with a new calf in tow. The timing would be right for her to bring yet another calf with her this summer. The researchers at Stellwagen and surrounding stations are on the lookout now for the migration.

She also told me that she and her family members also adopt Salt every year.

I was so excited to know that our whale was still alive and well as of last season, that I actually shed tears while telling my kids the news.

I’m hoping to hear when she is sighted again this year. The best way to do this, as it turned out, was to adopt her again. I went through one of the links Anne-Marie mentioned in her email, and Salt is once again a member of our family (as well as many other families world-wide, as it turns out that she is the most famous Humpback Whale in the Atlantic).

Links of Interest

Salt’s Bio Page at the Center for Coastal Studies website, where you can also follow her family tree:
http://coastalstudies.org/humpback-whale-research/gulf-of-maine/a-humpback-whale-named-salt/

The organization I went through to re-adopt Salt, in case you are interested in adopting a whale of your own (there are other organizations out there as well; this is not an endorsement, just a place to get you started):
https://adopt-us.whales.org/

A video of Salt (and others, including her 2010 calf, Zelle) from 2011, provided by another organization, The Whale Video Co.
https://youtu.be/71WPyhYHzXk

Crystal, The Story of a Real Baby Whale (now out of print but available used on Amazon.com):
https://amzn.to/2WoroxQ

News and Updates:

“Back by popular request,” as the saying goes…. I will be once again running a 3-pack special for the Summer Solstice for my existing clients. This year, the Solstice falls on June 21st, so I will be offering a special rate on my 3-pack of pre-paid sessions for that day, as well as the day before, and the day after (20th, 21st, 22nd of June). Please email me if you are interested in participating.

Blessings and Light,

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