is a whale, who has often been spotted around these parts since
his birth in 1988. He also has quite the family history.
We will start with his mother, Silver. She was first
sighted in 1979. She was named after Long John Silver, the
mischievous pirate in the classic book Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson, due to the fact that she was missing
part of an appendage. In her case, it was her right fluke
lost to an entanglement or ship strike. Silver had five
known calves (See Silver's Family Tree) before her untimely death
in 1991 due to an entanglement.
eldest sibling was Beltane. She was born in 1980. She
surprised researchers five years later when in 1985 she returned
with a calf. This means she conceived at the age of four.
Only a handful of whales are known to have given birth at
such a young age. With the birth of this calf, later named
Cat Eyes, Silver was the first known grandmother ever documented.
Sadly, Beltane died in the fall of 1987. That year
there was a crash in the sand lance population. The whales
that hung around late in the season began to feed on mackerel.
The mackerel had been feeding on a red tide organism that
in turn killed the whales. At least 14 humpback whales died
that year. Countless others may have perished as well but
never washed ashore.
Coral's siblings was Aster, a young female that died the same
year she was born.
One more note
to the family: Cat Eyes was only seen for two years, his birth
year and the year of his mother's death. Although there
have been no sightings, there is still the possibility he has
found other feeding grounds.
have faired better than her daughters. Coral and his two
brothers, Peninsula and Chablis, have been seen in recent years.
It is now up to these three to carry on Silver's line.
many whales, Coral has a few distinguishing marks. He has
a round white scar behind his blowhole, probably caused by a small
boat or an entanglement. He also has a beautiful all white
fluke with orca teeth rack marks along the trailing edge.