Whales: Greatest Hits

Blue Whale

Our local Center for Coastal Studies does a lot of great work, but one of my favorite things they do is host Whale Week. It’s happening right now and I get to use it as an opportunity to talk about my top four non-local whales. Similar to last week’s post about sharks, this scale is going to be 100% based on my personal preference and have very little basis in data. Quick disclaimer, though, I am a giant whale nerd and would make this list include every single species of whale if I could.

4. Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin
I know, I know, not what you were expecting. You wanted a big whale! Those are coming, I promise, I just needed to squeeze these little guys in here. They have the cute, little hump just before their dorsals (the same as humpback whales!) and the smiley, happy face that so many dolphins have. Lots of point for them already. But also a subspecies of these have white skin that appears pink from the blood flow underneath. So all those Lisa Frank pictures were kind of true: there are pink dolphins! Cute, happy, and very smart–these guys knock it right out of the park. 11/10 belong in Provincetown.

3. Narwhal
It is, of course, the tusk of the narwhal that makes it so cool. (You can go check one out at the Provincetown Pilgrim Monument and Museum.) People once believed that the tusks they found were actually unicorn horns (I wish). In fact, they are grown by the male (and sometimes the female) narwhals and act as a sensory organ. They don’t go around stabbing each other, as was once thought, although they have been known to slap fish with it to stun them. Amongst themselves, though, they will often be seen rubbing their tusks against each other to communicate. These guys have mastered the art of playing nicely with others. 10/10 belong in Provincetown.

Beluga Whales
2. Beluga
Beluga whales are actually closely related to the narwhal, so I guess it’s not a surprise they’re on my list. There’s just something about the face that I love–some sort of squish-nosed feature. They’re like the pugs of the sea. Like dolphins, beluga whales can use echolocation to hunt and maneuver and, most importantly, find airholes in the ice so they can breathe. They’re resourceful and cute and very much remind me of my dog. 10/10 belong in Provincetown.

Blue Whale
1. Blue Whale
Last but certainly not least, we have the only reason I would move to California: the blue whale. These whales are the largest animals to ever exist. Ever. They’re bigger than any dinosaur, bigger than elephants, bigger than anything that has ever lived on this planet. What’s even wilder is that these giant, giant whales is what they eat: teeny tiny little fish and plankton. They don’t even have teeth, they just filter feed. These gentle giants will always have my heart, but might not fit down Commercial St. 9/10 belong in Provincetown.