National Geographic: March 2009

National Geographic (03/09)As the voyage was to depart on the third of January, I made three New Year’s resolutions: I would try to be an affable shipmate. I would strip all the blubber from my prose. I would refrain from making a single allusion to Herman Melville.

Did I mention we were after a white whale?

STILL BLUE: I don’t know what blubber he’s talking about, but I absolutely adore Kenneth Brower’s prose. His description of enormous size of a blue whale is rich in detail and emotion. His allusion to biblical Jonah is overwhelming and so right to the point. It is almost as if you’re reading a novel.

Brower and his photographer join a team of scientists to track down a group of blue whales and document their breeding at the Costa Rica Dome. As weeks progress they encounter the magnificent creatures thriving in their natural habitat. They dive into the ocean to take a closer look at a new born calf. They tag the whales with satellite tags to keep an eye on the animals’ migration patterns. But number 4172, a staggering white bull, slips away yet again, leaving the crew wondering if they’ve embarked on a journey destined for Captain Ahab himself.

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