Whale abruptly suspends yearly migration because water “Quiet. Too quiet”

Christopher Michel / Flickr

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Argyle Perkins, a respected humpback whale, has abruptly suspended his yearly migration despite being halfway through. In a move which has stunned scientists, Argyle has now been suspended just off the coast of Washington State for the past three days, held in a nervous paralysis, not knowing which way is North or South or whether he may in fact be a member of the dolphin family. The thirty-five year old, Argyle, had been swimming from Alaska to his regular winter residence in Hawaii when this sudden paralysis took hold. In spite of suffering no prior history of paranoia, he cut this year’s migration short halfway through when he realized that the ocean was “Quiet. Too Quiet.”

North Pacific Humpback Whales, such as Argyle, typically migrate south during the winter season seeking warmer, sub-tropical waters to birth and raise their young. While there have been instances of individual whales staying put in the North during these months, probably a result of warming ocean temperatures worldwide, Argyle Perkins is a firm traditionalist and has never missed a migration in 35 years. This year, however, something is awry.

The cause for Argyle’s concern has been the plummet in sea traffic from ships and other ocean going vessels as a result of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic. With a reduction of up to 70% in waterborne activity the oceans are quieter than they have been in decades. While this has seen some immediate and amazing recoveries within certain ecosystems it has proved challenging for Argyle, who is suspicious that humans are up to something. In fact as a result of his sudden paranoia he has been observed making ponderous turns in a desperate and feeble attempt to see if anything – or anyone – is behind him. So far he has not had any luck although the feeling that someone is watching his every turn remains. This is because a nuclear powered research submarine gently waits a mile away observing this devastating dilemma. 

Scientists are also puzzled and as the hours tick on they are itching ever closer to launching a torpedo at Argyle to see if it might scare him back on his way. Unfortunately, the vessel being nuclear powered also renders it entirely silent. Meaning that the simple task of simply approaching Argyle and thus curing his paranoia and returning sound to the ocean is impossible at this time. It is a sad state of affairs for this well esteemed, ocean going mammal, who seems destined to remain suspended in these Washington waters until either humans return to the sea or he dies of fright.

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