Whale in Harraseeket River?!
Tue, 19 October 2004 09:48
In all likelyhood, you saw Poco, the wayward beluga whale that has been travelling by himself up and down the coast all summer. Poco, however, is slightly bigger than the six feet you describe, but he is a grey color, not white. I saw him off Peaks in early Septmeber, and the encounter described below in Harpswell is just around the time you saw him. My apologies for not staying more on top of this fun story.
From the Points East website http://www.pointseast.com/thegulf/041001poco-ad.shtml.
From Cal Cloutier
I can't believe I saw Poco the day after picking up a copy of your latest issue! Is it true that the consensus is that there is only one Poco? That would suggest that my chances of seeing (him?) was somewhere on the order of a million to one!
Sighting was Friday Sept. 24 off the end of Lookout Point Road, Harpswell, Maine, in Middle Bay.
What a thrill.
Here's how to id a beluga from http://nmml.afsc.noaa.gov/education/cetaceans/beluga2.htm#id entify :
Belugas are born dark gray. They turn white as they mature sometimes taking 3-8 years to reach their adult coloration. Adult beluga whales can grow up to 16 feet (4.9 meters) long. Females are generally smaller than males. Belugas have large melons and very short snouts. Interestingly enough, unlike other cetaceans, beluga whales also have the ability to move their head independent of their body.
Beluga whales do not have dorsal fins. Dorsal fins would be a major hindrance during the winter when they live in the loose pack ice of the Arctic. A dorsal fin would cause extra heat loss when Arctic animals, such as belugas, need to to conserve heat. They do have a tough dorsal ridge which, along with their head, can be used to break ice for breathing holes.
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