*and a cat.
Jeri and I have been married 35 years today and it looks like we’ll make a go of it. It was chilly and breezy today, but not as cold as the 5th of January 1980—cold as a dog and the wind no’th-east, as Ruth Moore would say. I have cousins here in Maine who still complain about how cold it was on the island the day we got married—and they go ice fishing and snowmobiling for fun. Today the wind was northwest, a clear dry wind, pulling arctic air after yesterday’s storm—but the temperature hadn’t fallen much below freezing after the warm southeaster—so it was a pleasant enough walk on the back beach. We decided to take a few photos of the dead 36-foot humpback whale that washed up on Christmas Day.
Triomphe, as he was called, was identified last week by members of Allied Whale and the College of the Atlantic. He was born seven years ago in the Dominican Republic and likely would have gone back there this winter. No indication yet as to why he died. How do they know one whale from another? Barnacles. Each whale has a unique barnacle pattern, unique as fingerprints; and the ones on the tail are often visible by boat and easily photographed. Researchers can track migration patterns by comparing photographs from other researchers or even from tourists on a whale watch excursion.
Triomphe had washed ashore here on Little Cranberry Island just to the east of the Old Coast Guard Station (now a summer home) but during the southeaster a couple of nights ago came adrift, made his way around the point (going over Baker’s Island Bar a bit) and nestled up against the stone wall at the foot of the Station. I think we’ll need a no’theaster to set him adrift completely, but winter is made up of those. In the meantime, he’s made the front pages of local papers and of course Facebook is fond of him.
* Here is a picture of the cat: