Whales have fascinated humans ever since we first set out upon the ocean, myths have sprung up around them as early seafarers mistook them for sea monsters. Then came the whalers who profited from the rise in popularity of whale oil which sparked mass whale hunts. Some brave whales retaliated which in turn inspired Herman Melville’s enchanting classic novel, Moby Dick.
In the late 1800s petroleum became more accessible causing whaling to fall into slow decline. This shameful practice is nowadays only pursued by a handful of countries – Iceland, Norway and Japan.
The 1986 international commercial whaling ban allowed numerous whale species and populations to recover after decades of being hunted to the brink of extinction.
History is filled with enthralling whale tales and real life whale celebrities. Here’s the first 3 of the world’s most beloved famous whales and whale stories.
Migaloo the albino humpback is possibly Australia’s most famous white whale. First spotted in 1991 of our east coast, Migaloo has inspired countless whale watchers to flock to the shore side and out onto the water yearly during whale migration season in the hopes of catching a glimpse of this rare, white whale.
30 year old Migaloo is still a young whale, but because of his white pigmentation and a discolouration seen on his dorsal fin in 2014, researchers are worried he is showing signs of the early stages of cancer.
With 2016’s migration season underway now, Migaloo could be travelling the humpback highway past Moreton Bay Region to the Great Barrier Reef.
The Pacific’s 70 foot long, Mocha Dick was a fearless, highly intelligent and cunning albino sperm whale encountered most by sailors near the island of Mocha, off southern Chile during the early 1800s.
One of the few whales to instil fear in men, the brave Mocha Dick was docile when left in peace, but a valiant fighter when provoked. He was hunted by at least 100 whaling vessels during his lifetime, he destroyed over 20 of them and survived all the other skirmishes except for the last.
His downfall came when he launched into action after observing a calf and its mother killed by whalers, he retaliated against the whalers, attacking their ship. He managed to destroy one of the smaller whaling boats, but was fatally wounded by a harpoon.
He is remembered not only as a daring and courageous whale to be feared by whalers, but also as part of the inspiration behind Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’.
One of the first orcas to ever be caught alive became a sensation at San Diego’s SeaWorld during the mid to late 1960’s.
She was meant to become a companion for a resident orca of a Seattle aquarium, but the two did not get along and so she was moved to San Diego.
She passed away in 1971.
Discover the last 4 of the world’s most famous whales inFamous List of Whales Part 2 – The Last 4 of the World’s Most Incredible Whales & Whale Tales