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Monday, June 6, 2011

Breath

We breath in, we breath out. Whales breath in, whales breath out. It’s amazing how much we have in common with the majestic giant of the deep.

I have just spent a couple of days watching my granddaughter run cross-country, a distance of three kilometers or, as stated on the program three thousand meters. All she could say at the end of the race was, ‘I can’t breath, I can’t breath’. She obviously was still breathing as she was still walking and talking!

How do the humpback whales, whom, right now, are on their annual migration up the east coast of Australia, feel? Are they out of breath? After all it is a journey of 10,000 kilometers or if they were on the program 10 000 000 meters.

With lungs the size of a mini minor (it’s great to see the Mini and Cooper S have made a comeback!) they have an advantage over us. The humpback can hold its breath for up to 40 minutes and unlike us humans who expel only 15 to 20% of our air it expels 90%. This air is expelled from the two blowholes (toothed whales only have one blowhole) at a speed of 400kph. The humpback whale breathes in and out in less than two seconds. How’s that for a mammal that weighs 40 tonnes and reaches up to 15 meters in length. If you are a pictorial type of person, that’s six buses on top of each other.

While my ten year old was a bit puffed I was very proud of her efforts and she is very excited to have been chosen for the regional competition. For the humpback whale it is not a competition but a means for reaching warm waters where birthing and procreation can take place and when they call into Hervey Bay on their way home it’s time for a spot of fun and relaxation.

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