The whale is perhaps the most mysterious animal known to man. For centuries it inspired awe and fear, and was hunted for its oil, blubber and whalebone. Now it is a symbol of an ecological threat, a barometer for a world out of kilter.
It is even more remarkable that the transition from an age of whale-hunting to an era of whale-watching has happened within living memory.Ancient myth regarded the whale as an uncanny monster, a creature beyond comprehension. A whale might swallow a single human being, such as Jonah, or an entire city, as one Greek myth imagined. The poet William Blake wrote of a terrifying vision, "the head of Leviathan, his forehead was divided into streaks of green and purple like those on a tyger's forehead... advancing towards us with all the fury of a spiritual existence".
"My own mission is to find the truth behind our relationship with the whale, and I came closer to the object of my pursuit than I had ever thought possible.
In waters three miles deep, I swam towards a school of sperm whales. I've never been so terrified in my life. I could feel my heart beating in my ribcage.
Suddenly, one of the whales began to swim towards me. A sperm whale's eyes are set low on the side of its head. I was sure it could not see me. And it was coming closer. Then I began to feel - rather than hear - its echo-locating sonar in my chest. It was akin to being in an MRI scanner. Just in time it turned, and for a moment, we came eye to eye. Then it dived, perpendicularly, into the profound blue-black, and was gone.
What I learned that day is the vexed shared history between human and whale has yet to run its course. Even now, these creatures remain deeply mysterious. We still have a lot to learn about each other."
Thank you Johnnie for the link :)