We Meet Fissure Again in 1987!

Before I describe our 1987 meetings with Fissure let me explain how we knew it was the same whale. Humpback whales are identified by the patterns on the underside of their flukes. Whenever a person gets a good picture, whether it be scientist, fisherman, whale watch boat crew, or tourist they can send it to Allied Whale. All of these photographs have been collected in a catalogue and when a new one comes in, some hardy soul takes it through that catalogue to see if they can find a match. If no match is found the photo is added to the catalogue as a new whale. The catalogue was started in the late 1970's and now has 6,000 individual whales identified!

This is a photograph of Fissure in the catalogue:

Fissure WN copy

This is the photo I took of him in 1987:

Fissures fluke

I am not sure how it was determined Fissure was a male. Since he was such a "friendly whale" I can imagine him rolling around enough that someone was able to see his genitals. There is no other easy way to tell the difference between males and females. When full grown the females may be slightly larger than the males but that is about it.

Fissure was first spotted in 1984 as a young calf with his mother, Veil. So those two years we spent time with him he was 2 and 3 years old.