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Thanks Ken, Ron, Don and Morris.
Although I don't know the meaning of "JK ," I'm laughing, Ron, because I know that- in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary- you are at heart a funny guy .
This is a different view of these behemoths- to be sure. Our boat captain spotted the critter. We went over to the approved distance- careful not to harrass it. Then we throttled down to idle and drifted. The whale knew we were there, but they were all raised with boats around them in these waters, and they know that they have nothing to fear, so he slowly came closer (whales are quite intelligent- and intelligent creatures tend to be curious). I went to the top deck of our 100-foot vessel for this tele lens perspective.
Here's a tidbit of info that you may not know: Even when they sleep, only part of the whale's brain sleeps at a time. Among other reasons- their breathing is NOT involuntary (as it is in humans). Their conscious brain tells the body when to breathe. I assume it's necessary because whales sometimes dive deep (not so much with humpbacks, but sperm whales dive VERY deep).
I'm not a biologist, but that brings a question to my mind- do ALL marine mammals sleep with part of their brains awake? Elephant seals, for example, often dive 1,000 feet (or more) for their prey. Are they like the great whales? Or do they just hold their breath the way we do- only a lot longer?