San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionHistory of the Museum

Trip to Trinidad Whaling Station, July-August 1926

On a Whaling Boat
July 25

At an early hour this morning we found the Hercules anchored off the plant so I aroused Mr. Dedrick from his bed to find whether I could make the promised trip on the boat today. He gave his consent so back to camp I dashed after cameras, bed roll, etc.

Mr. Howell promised to look after my traps & prepare such material as had been captured.

We were introduced to Captain Lane of the Hercules by Mr. Dedrick. The Captain proved to be a very likeable chap & had sailed the arctic waters for over 35 years. He is well acquainted with Charlie Brower of Pt. Barrow & with Bent-Beck-Dixon Snow and others that are well known in Natural History circles, so we hit it off in good style.

Charlie Brower was a well-known Alaskan who whaled using techniques of the native Americans. The "Bent-Beck-Dixon-Snow" reference is a mystery.

We got under way about 9:30 bound for Eureka where the ship was to take fuel & have some repairs made.

The day was beautiful, cool & clear & soon after leaving Trinidad I saw my first Gillimot & Calif. Murre in life. Farther out Dark-bodied Shearwaters were not uncommon.

Entering Humboldt Bay 3 Heerman’s Gulls were seen with Western Gulls & Calif. Brown Pelicans in greater abundance. We put in the afternoon doing odd jobs about the vessel & after dinner I had a very pleasant evening with Capt. Lane. He told among other interesting things how the cow whale carries its newly born young. He says that the newly born whale cannot take care of itself & that it is carried by the mother on her forehead held there by suction of her blow “hole”. Capt. Lane says he has several times seen the cow whale come up under the baby & carry it off in this manner.

He also states that the mother whales leave their calves after they are old enough to swim, much in the same manner as a mother deer leaves her young when feeding.

"Early whalers of the 18th and 19th centuries, like predators of any species, had extensive knowledge of their quarry". Although newborn cetaceans have relatively well-developed sensory and motor abilities, the mortality rate among Gray Whales during their first year is estimated to be 35%. The percentage of time that mother and calf spend apart depends on the species and is related to feeding habits.

July 26-27

Spent at Eureka awaiting the completion of repairs.