The Whale Breaches
“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
At the beginning of March 2020, before the pandemic struck hard, I had the privilege of hosting a screening of Gordon Wilson’s magnificent movie, The Riot and the Dance: Water. One of my favorite parts of the movie is where Wilson and his crew traverse Montego Bay, hoping and praying that they will see a humpback whale breaching.
Humpbacks are among the largest whales in the world. A typical humpback weighs about 40 tons and begins its breach deep down in the ocean. Imagine the acceleration required to get this enormous animal out of the water and into the air. The whale leaves the water at an angle of 30° and a speed of 18 mph. Clearly, this monster uses a lot of energy in breaching, yet it is not unknown for the whale to repeat the exercise – the observed record being 130 leaps in 90 minutes!
Why does it go to all this trouble? No one really knows. As with all such obscure phenomena, there are those who suggest that the whales are trying to “attract the girls”! Others suggest that the big splash achieved on re-entry rips some of the barnacles off the whale’s surface. There may be truth in either of these suggestions. But Wilson says that he cannot overlook the probability that the whale breaches simply because it gives God pleasure! He is a creative God, and the world He made is not for utility only, but also for beauty.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, that You made this world for Your good pleasure. Amen.
Author: Paul F. Taylor
Ref: Wilson, N.D. and Wilson, G. (2020), The Riot and the Dance: Water, < https://riotandthedance.com/ >, accessed 3/23/2020. Image: < http://www.kovacevic.nl/blog >, CC BY-SA 2.5 General.
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