This article reads more like a story than an encyclopedia entry.(September 2011)
|Known for||Entering San Francisco Bay during annual migration in 1985 and 1990|
Humphrey the Whale is a humpback whale which twice deviated from his Mexico to Alaska migration by entering San Francisco Bay.This behavior is unusual for a humpback whale, and Humphrey attracted wide media attention when entering the bay in both 1985 and 1990. Both of his bay incursions resulted in rescue by the Marine Mammal Center, based in Marin County, California, assisted by the United States Coast Guard and hundreds of other volunteers.
The last sighting of Humphrey was in the vicinity of the Farallon Islands in 1991.
The humpback whale is a mammal which belongs to the baleen whale suborder. An adult usually ranges between 12–16 m (39–52 ft) long and weighs approximately 36,000 kilograms (79,000 pounds), or 36 tonnes (40 short tons ). It is well known for its breaching, its unusually long front fins, and its complex whale song. The humpback whale lives in oceans and seas around the world.
Humpback whales have a stocky body with well-defined humps and black upper elements. The head and lower jaw are covered with knobs called tubercles, which are actually hair follicles and are characteristic of the species. The tail flukes, which are lifted high in the dive sequence, have wavy rear edges.
Individual humpbacks have unique patterns on their long black and white tail fin and pectoral fins which allow scientists to positively identify them.
In 1985, a 40-foot-long (12-meter) humpback entered San Francisco Bay and was followed closely on the evening news by Bay Area television stations. After a few days in the bay, the whale, nicknamed Humphrey, swam up the Sacramento River into a freshwater habitat. The whale, first spotted at Oakland's Outer Harbor October 10, 1985, swam up the Carquinez Strait, the Sacramento River and under the Rio Vista Bridge to a dead-end slough 69 miles (111 kilometers) from the ocean.
Numerous attempts to coax him back to the ocean failed. One initial attempt involved playing sounds of orcas to frighten Humphrey into leaving.Another attempt was made using a "sound net" in which people in a flotilla of boats made unpleasant noises behind the whale by banging on steel pipes, a Japanese fishing technique known as "oikomi". Several weeks of being trapped in the fresh water of the Sacramento Delta brought signs of physical stress in the whale. His skin was graying and he was becoming more and more listless. None of the traditional herding techniques were working, and Humphrey appeared to be dying.
As a last-ditch effort to save the whale, Louis Herman, a researcher of humpback whales, postulated that it would be possible to lure it out by playing acoustic recordings of whale social and feeding sounds.Dr. Bernie Krause, an acoustician, offered the recordings he had made of humpback whale feeding songs as a possible way to lure him out. However, to get the sounds into the water required a powerful speaker and amplification system that only the Navy was likely to have. Krause contacted Greg Pless who was in charge of the underwater acoustics research laboratory for the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where one of the few high-power J-11 underwater transducers existed in the country. Pless and his colleague Dale Galarowicz quickly gained Navy permission and rushed the equipment to Rio Vista where Humphrey was last seen.
Early the next morning, the equipment was loaded onto the private yacht, Boot Legger, donated by its owner for the rescue effort. Directed to the location in the slough where Humphrey was last seen, the speaker was lowered over the side of the boat, the sounds were played, and Humphrey emerged from the water at the bow of the ship. The captain quickly started down the river with Humphrey close in tow. With the assistance of numerous fish and wildlife agencies, including the Army's 481st Transportation Company (Heavy Boat), the crew led him the many miles back down the Sacramento river, alternately playing and not playing the whale songs to keep his interest. Large numbers of spectators lined the banks of the river.
As they approached the San Francisco Bay and the water gained in salinity, Humphrey became visibly excited and began sounding. Though the crew lost sight of him that night, they picked him back up in the morning and led him out through the Golden Gate bridge into the Pacific Ocean on November 4, 1985, at 4:36 p.m. The town of Rio Vista later erected a commemorative granite marker at City Hall at the east end of Main Street. A restaurant in Antioch was named Humphrey's in the whale's honor. The restaurant has been remodeled and it changed its name to Smith's Landing Seafood Grill.
Humphrey stayed a considerable time in 1990 in the embayment immediately north of Sierra Point in Brisbane, California where occupants of the Dakin Building could observe his antics. Humphrey became beached on a mudflat in San Francisco Bay to the north of Sierra Point and to the south of Candlestick Park.He was extricated from the mudflat with a large cargo net and support from the Marine Mammal Center and a U.S. Coast Guard boat.
This time, he was successfully guided back to the Pacific Ocean using a combination of "oikomi" simultaneously with the broadcast of attractive sounds of humpback whales preparing to feed from a boat headed towards the open ocean. Researchers Louis Herman and Bernie Krause led a team of scientists who used sound recordings of natural whale feeding vocalizations to guide Humphrey back to safety. These sounds were produced for a swimming trajectory of 50 miles (80 km) until Humphrey reached the Pacific Ocean, sometimes attaining speeds of 30 miles per hour (48 km/h).
Cascadia Research Collective spotted Humphrey in 1986, 1987 and 1988 outside the Bay.
Humphrey has been seen only once since the second misadventure, at the Farallon Islands in 1991.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the one-mile-wide (1.6 km) strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The structure links the U.S. city of San Francisco, California—the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula—to Marin County, carrying both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1 across the strait. The bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco and California. It was initially designed by engineer Joseph Strauss in 1917. It has been declared one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The Sacramento River is the principal river of Northern California in the United States and is the largest river in California. Rising in the Klamath Mountains, the river flows south for 400 miles (640 km) before reaching the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and San Francisco Bay. The river drains about 26,500 square miles (69,000 km2) in 19 California counties, mostly within the fertile agricultural region bounded by the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada known as the Sacramento Valley, but also extending as far as the volcanic plateaus of Northeastern California. Historically, its watershed has reached as far north as south-central Oregon where the now, primarily, endorheic (closed) Goose Lake rarely experiences southerly outflow into the Pit River, the most northerly tributary of the Sacramento.
Solano County is a county located in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 413,344. The county seat is Fairfield.
Rio Vista is a city located in the eastern end of Solano County, California, in the Sacramento River Delta region of Northern California. The population was 7,360 at the 2010 census.
The Golden Gate is a strait on the west coast of North America that connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. It is defined by the headlands of the San Francisco Peninsula and the Marin Peninsula, and, since 1937, has been spanned by the Golden Gate Bridge. The entire shoreline and adjacent waters throughout the strait are managed by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The humpback whale is a species of baleen whale. It is one of the larger rorqual species, with adults ranging in length from 12–16 m (39–52 ft) and weighing around 25–30 t. The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. It is known for breaching and other distinctive surface behaviors, making it popular with whale watchers. Males produce a complex song lasting 10 to 20 minutes, which they repeat for hours at a time. All the males in a group will produce the same song, which is different each season. Its purpose is not clear, though it may help induce estrus in females.
The Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary protects the wildlife, habitats, and cultural resources of one of the most diverse and bountiful marine environments in the world, an area of 3,295 square miles off the northern and central California coast. The waters within Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary are part of a nationally significant marine ecosystem, and support an abundance of life, including many threatened or endangered species.
The Antioch Bridge is an automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian bridge in the western United States. Located in northern California, it crosses the San Joaquin River-Stockton Deepwater Shipping Channel, linking Antioch in Contra Costa County with Sherman Island in southern Sacramento County, near Rio Vista.
Golden Gate Transit (GGT) is a public transportation system serving the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area in California, United States. It primarily serves Marin County, Sonoma County, and San Francisco, and also provides limited service to Contra Costa County.
The San Francisco Transbay Terminal was a transportation complex in San Francisco, California, United States, roughly in the center of the rectangle bounded north–south by Mission Street and Howard Street, and east–west by Beale Street and 2nd Street in the South of Market area of the city. It opened on January 14, 1939 as a train station and was converted into a bus depot in 1959. The terminal mainly served San Francisco's downtown and Financial District, as transportation from surrounding communities of the Bay Area terminated there such as: Golden Gate Transit buses from Marin County, AC Transit buses from the East Bay, and SamTrans buses from San Mateo County. Long-distance buses from beyond the Bay Area such as Greyhound and Amtrak also served the terminal. Several bus lines of the San Francisco Municipal Railway connected with the terminal.
State Route 12 is a state highway in the U.S. state of California that travels in an east–west direction from State Route 116 in Sebastopol in Sonoma County to State Route 49 just north of San Andreas in Calaveras County. The route connects the Sonoma and Napa valleys with the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta and the Sierra Foothills. It is constructed to freeway standards from the Fulton Road/South Wright Road stoplight in Santa Rosa, to its partial interchange with Farmers Lane.
Bernard L. Krause is an American musician and soundscape ecologist. In 1968, he founded Wild Sanctuary, an organization dedicated to the recording and archiving of natural soundscapes. Krause is an author, a bio-acoustician, a speaker, and natural sound artist who coined the terms geophony, biophony, and anthropophony.
Louis Herman was an American marine biologist. He was a researcher of dolphin sensory abilities, dolphin cognition, and humpback whales. He was professor in the Department of Psychology and a cooperating faculty member of the Department of Oceanography at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He founded the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory (KBMML) in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1970 to study bottlenose dolphin perception, cognition, and communication. In 1975, he pioneered the scientific study of the annual winter migration of humpback whales into Hawaiian waters. Together with Adam Pack, he founded The Dolphin Institute in 1993, a non-profit corporation dedicated to dolphins and whales through education, research, and conservation.
People in the San Francisco Bay Area rely on a complex multimodal transportation infrastructure consisting of roads, bridges, highways, rail, tunnels, airports, seaports, and bike and pedestrian paths. The development, maintenance, and operation of these different modes of transportation are overseen by various agencies, including the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Association of Bay Area Governments, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. These and other organizations collectively manage several interstate highways and state routes, two subway networks, two commuter rail agencies, eight trans-bay bridges, transbay ferry service, local bus service, three international airports, and an extensive network of roads, tunnels, and bike paths.
The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC) is a private, non-profit U.S. organization that was established in 1975 for the purpose of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing marine mammals who are injured, ill or abandoned. It was founded in Sausalito, California, by Lloyd Smalley, Pat Arrigoni and Paul Maxwell. Since 1975, TMMC has rescued over 23,000 marine mammals. It also serves as a center for environmental research and education regarding marine mammals, namely cetaceans, pinnipeds, otters and sirenians. Marine mammal abandonment refers to maternal separation; pups that have been separated from their mother before weaning. At the center, they receive specialized veterinary care: they are diagnosed, treated, rehabilitated and ideally, released back into the wild. Animals in need of assistance are usually identified by a member of the public who has contacted the center. These animals represent the following major species: California sea lions, northern elephant seals, Pacific harbor seals, northern fur seals and southern sea otters. On a few occasions, TMMC has taken in Guadalupe fur seals, Steller sea lions and bottlenose/Pacific white-sided dolphins. The only non-mammals that TMMC takes in are sea turtles.
San Francisco Bay in California has been served by ferries of all types for over 150 years. John Reed established a sailboat ferry service in 1826. Although the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge led to the decline in the importance of most ferries, some are still in use today for both commuters and tourists.
Humphrey is a given name and a surname.
Mori Point is a 110-acre (0.4 km2) park located in Pacifica, California that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). Mori Point itself is a bluff next to the Pacific Ocean that provides scenic views of the peninsula coastline. In addition to the bluff and ridge, Mori Point contains a few small ponds and wetlands. Trails, many newly built, connect the ridgeline to the entrances to the park and to Sharp Park beach. A portion of the California Coastal Trail will run through Mori Point.
Delta and Dawn, also known as the Delta whales, were two humpback whales, a mother and her calf, which entered San Francisco Bay in early May 2007. They swam up the Sacramento River approximately 90 nautical miles (170 km) upstream from the Golden Gate, about 20 miles (32 km) further inland than Humphrey the Whale had gone two decades earlier. Under the Endangered Species Act, California state officials were required to rescue the animals. Their journey was thought to be the longest freshwater incursion by humpback whales.
George Sumner is an American oil painter and environmental activist who began his career by creating marine-themed abstracts in the 1970s.
For a time, Humphrey didn't have a name -- until the Chronicle reporter assigned to the story christened him.
Birney Jarvis, who covered the whale for its entire 26-day visit, recalled that everyone he talked to wanted to know the whale's name, and that it was taking up interviewing time.
"So I decided to name him," Jarvis said. "I said to myself, 'Humpback ... Humphrey.' It just seemed to fit." Jarvis said he credited the name to a Rio Vista restaurateur he was interviewing, who didn't mind accepting the honor.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Humphrey the Whale .|