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  •  I Briefly Lived in Puget Sound Where I Saw These (9+ / 0-)

    very whales every Spring pass by, using those great flippers to swirl up the sand in search of little krilly things, 50 feet from the village store fronts. We'd go out a few hours later when the tide dropped (tides once a day are huge there, way more than most Atlantic & Gulf tides) and I would walk in the 15 foot divots they'd left.

    Here's a view out my picture window:
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    I have 2 other whale connections. Barely a toddler I got the crazy about sailing ships, used to rig sails in our tree and made a working sailing wagon, and bonded with a book put out by Mystic Seaport in the 50's about the real-life ramming of a whale ship by a sperm whale, which really sank, whose 1st mate inspired Melville to write Moby Dick.

    I made it to Mystic in the early 70's and met one of the last surviving old time whalemen, staged as a barrel maker who'd actually been a ship's sailmaker and wasted no time correcting the record! A sailor myself with time spent in hurricane force weather in small boats out of sight of land, I enjoyed a very educational conversation with him.

    The other connection is the reason you always hear bagpipes playing Amazing Grace but it's not the (white) hymnal version of its composer, but instead a gospel version recorded by Elvis but most pertinently Judy Collins.

    Her 1969 album Whales and Nightingales ended side 2 with Amazing Grace and just 2 years later a UK military pipe band recorded that same version which became a top 40 hit here and in UK. Being a Celtic trad music player, I have to suffer bagpipers playing this tune about a thousand times more than all the rest of you do. I'm lucky if hear a traditional bagpipe lament once in a year now in the US.

    But the song that ended side 1 was a real Scottish song called "Farewell to Tarwathie." She sings it a capella but with humpback whale songs recorded by Roger Payne in the background. They picked a selection where the whales several times moaned the same sustained midrange pitch -- so as to imitate the exact musical effect of a bagpipe's drone.

    Here it is:

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:55:40 PM PST

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