Melville would know how to save whales
CALL ME ISHMAEL, but it seems the best way to convince those two humpback whales lost up a California river would be to show up with a Japanese whaling boat. There's nothing like a boat bristling with harpoons to convince whales it's time to get out of Dodge. Or, in this case, the Sacramento River.
The mother whale and her pup or foal or guppy or whatever you call a baby whale apparently were on their way to Alaska when they turned right into San Francisco Bay. Whale authorities don't know why they detoured and reject the notion that they were just looking for a good bowl of chowder and some sourdough bread.
The whales, whose scientific names are Delta and Dawn (after that touching ballad about a crazy woman sung by Helen Reddy), lounged around the bay and then headed up the Sacramento River, where they likely were surprised not to find Anchorage.
Migrating whales, like men, never ask for directions, and so they've been milling around in the river while good-hearted, concerned citizens and environmentalists scare the bejesus out of them with fire hoses, recordings of killer whales and, I believe, underwater renditions of "Delta Dawn."
You'd think being forced to listen to "She's 41 and her daddy still calls her baby. All the folks 'round Brownsville say she's crazy" would be enough to convince anyone to leave not only San Francisco, but the entire western United States. But the whales just won't go.
ALL THE BEST minds in Whaledom have suggested ways to coax, drive or trick Delta and Dawn back into the Pacific Ocean, to no avail. The last effort involved firing fire hoses at them from marauding boats, which, though rather terrifying for the whales, sounds like great fun for the people on the boats. The efforts were to resume today after allowing the whales Memorial Day off to recover from being assaulted by crazy people in boats with fire hoses and to reflect on all their whale relatives who died over the past 200 years in battle with the forces of Herman Melville and Nantucket.
It was whale expert Melville who gave me the idea of chasing off the whales with heavily armed whaling boats. The Japanese have all kinds of whaling boats. We could charter one, slip it up the Sacramento River by night like in "Apocalypse Now" and surprise Delta and Dawn in the delta at dawn. When they saw the harpoons, they would race through the Golden Gate bridge like they were shot from a canon.
Not everyone thinks the whales should be rescued. Radical environmentalists, like the ones who wanted that cute orphaned baby polar bear killed in Germany because it was unnatural to feed him with a bottle, think that Delta and Dawn should be allowed to die in the river. The whales basically have flunked their evolutionary migration test, the argument goes.
That seems harsh, but what would you expect from anyone willing to kill a cute, cuddly bear cub? Compared with those guys, Melville was a real sweetheart.
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