is an older whale who has been seen around these parts since 1981.
At that time she was pregnant with her first known
calf, Ember. Cardhu has certainly done her part in helping
the humpback whales recover from the hunting years. She
has had eight calves since that first sighting and could very
well have had more before then (See Cardhu's Family Tree).
seems to be fond of the Stellwagen Bank feeding ground and can
be seen here at any time during the season. However, in
1998, the year she had her calf Mallet, she was not seen around
here much. Then in 1999 she was seen frequently throughout
the entire season. She formed an unusually long association
with another old-timer named Salt.
These two were seen from about June until November. Baleen
whales usually form "loose associations." This means
that they are only together for a short time. These loose
associations are often seen during feeding. Generally, they
only last a few hours to days. Every once in a while they
last a bit longer.
name Cardhu comes from a world famous malt distillery in Speyside,
Scotland located off the northern foothills of the Grampian Mountains.
There, they make a cardhu single malt whiskey that takes
12 years to mature in old oak casks.
is not an easy whale to identify. She has a stunning all
black tail with almost no markings on it. There are many
whales with all black flukes so the key to correctly identifying
her is with very good photographs of her fluke and dorsal fin.
She does however have another marking which is not easily
seen. One to two feet behind her blowhole on the right side
is a 10+ inch gash. It is very difficult to see because
there seems to be no scar tissue around it and it blends in with
the natural color of her body. This could be a wound she
inflicted on herself by rolling around the coral heads in the
Caribbean or it could actually be a birthmark. At least
one of her calves, Venom, shows the same marking on both sides.
His markings were seen the year of his birth.