One of the most incredible experiences we have on the Silver Bank is a front row, full-immersion “seat” at a humpback whale concert. Sometimes we feel the vibrations of whale song through the hull of the boat before our ears register the sound. Swimming with a singing whale is a remarkable, full body, experience. We effectively become part of the sea and the sound passes right through us. It’s moving in many ways!
With rare exception, only the males sing, almost exclusively on the breeding grounds. While much has been learned since singing was first recorded, there are still many questions. That is a subject for another post.
Humpback whale songs have been described as haunting, soaring, lonesome, moving, plaintive, enigmatic and mournful. One thing is for certain, they are loud! It’s remarkable that the iconic 1971 album “Songs of the Humpback Whale”, recorded by Frank Watlington and Roger Payne, and produced by Roger Payne, remains the best selling nature recording ever released. Most whale fans know that not only did the Payne’s work kick start the international Save the Whales campaign, but it was also a catalyst for the environmental movement of the 1970’s as a whole.
The health benefits of relaxation techniques such as meditation, qigong, yoga and other wellness pursuits are proven and widely accepted now. Conscious breathing, expressing gratitude, being in the moment, and connecting with nature have all been shown to contribute to our happiness, too. It is not just a New Age fad.
Audio recordings let us incorporate the soothing sounds of nature into wellness practice, or just bring peaceful tones to our homes, cars, and offices. Since the “Songs of the Humpback Whale” was released, we have more options for natural sound recordings than we could dream of. From frogs, to thunderstorms, waves, rustling leaves, crickets and even turkeys (yes, turkeys!).
We think the whales can help again and are excited to share with you this new humpback whale song recorded on the Silver Bank this year.
This exclusive 18-minute track contains many of the signature elements that have been identified in classic humpback whale songs. There is phrasing, repetition, low and high parts, staccato chirrups and low groans. In the background you can hear the faint distant calls of other singing whales. The Silver Bank hosts a chorus of whales.
This recording was made by Capt. Gene on March 5, 2019 during one of our daily excursions to swim with the whales. We carry aboard our boats high quality hydrophones by Aquarian Audio that we connect to a Zoom H4n digital recorder with the sound played to our guests through a portable amp. On this day conditions were ideal, with light winds. This meant the boat did not quickly drift away from the singer while our guests were in the water (yes, our swimmers were in this song) and there was less background noise from waves. It is one of the highest quality recordings we have made and it is a truly unique oceanic melody. (Click play button in image to start playback. For best results use headphones or an amplified home stereo system)
Just the thought that there is a corner of the ocean, not too far away, where you can float in this song, is one that brings peace. We may never know what they are saying but in a way that’s okay because it’s the mystery of it all that keeps us listening. Some mysteries are better left unsolved.
We hope you enjoy this recording and that it brings a moment’s respite to your day. Please share! Both the oceans and the music can heal and unite – and we all need more of that!
Humpback whales, whale song, Whale watching