View Full Version : Poco the Whale's visit to the WBS
09-11-2004, 09:47 AM
Are there any other readers out there who
saw 'Poco', a beluga whale, at the Wooden Boat School on July 10?
He followed my boat, "Avatara" (a Great Dane 28),
heading West in the Eggomogin Reach for about 20 minutes and then continued to follow my boat when I turned West of Little Babson Island headed towards the WBS moorings. He stayed there for about 45 minutes and anyone who was there that day who was on the school launch (members of a womens-only "Elements of Seamanship" class) and a small WBS ketch will remember the events quite well. I took some pictures (including one very nice one that had 'Poco' and a boatload of ecstatic women on the launch) and was wondering ... did anyone took any pictures with Poco and me together?
If others are interested I can give a fuller account of what happened that day as I entered everything into a journal later that day. Poco made my summer! I met him for the first time while rowing my (red-and-blue Tinker Tramp) dinghy ashore to Peaks Island on 6/27. I think
he recognized my dinghy (which he believes is a most excellent water toy) on the day we met in the Eggomogin Reach. Amazingly I went on to see him again in Rockland on July 17 and 19.
Are there any other Friends of Poco out there?
btw, the WBS harbor is beautiful! I would encourage other cruising sailors to stop there and have a look around (and while you're there, visit the WB store). A trip to nearby Center Harbor is also worthwhile -- check out that boatyard there! And, further to the West, the Benjamin River has some mighty fine looking boats as well. What a beautiful area!
09-11-2004, 10:27 AM
Don't know about Poco, but this morning the following wildlife showed up in the very early morning in the harbor in front of my house: ospreys, a great heron, an eagle and a pilot whale. I've seen all these at one time or another, but never all at the same time in the same place. :cool:
09-11-2004, 11:22 AM
A couple of night's ago I was told that Poco has gone to the Beluga whale pod in heaven.
We all were silently keeping our fingers crossed that his extrordinary gifts to us would not lead to his demise.
I told my 28 year old daughter who had cavorted with him, including play in his element, and she didn't want to hear the news.
Ella, my 7 year old, will not hear the news from me.
09-12-2004, 09:25 AM
Chris and others:
After several emails inquiring about particulars,
I traced the information back to its supposed
source -- USCG Group Portland. I then talked to
the Administrative Assistant for the Group Director who told me that ...
P-O-C-O L-I-V-E-S !!! Indeed, he told me that just _yesterday_ he was positively sighted in Boothbay.
What a relief !!! It just goes to show -- never give up on your friends unless and until there is no hope.
Long live Poco!!!
btw, you can get on the phone and break the
news to your 28-year-old daughter.
09-12-2004, 10:15 AM
If Chris' photo is of POCO, then it is not the same whale that was in Boothbay. I saw the pilot whale that was cruising around Boothbay all day yesterday. At one time it swam about eight feet off my neighbors dock (I was on the dock) and the whale was almost black and had longer sickle shaped pectoral fins instead of rounded ones. Quite a sight.
09-12-2004, 11:01 AM
Hi, I called USCG Group Portland back again and
told them that a black (pilot) whale had been
sighted in Boothbay yesterday and asked them
for further information.
They repeated to me that (although they don't
track whales) to the best of their knowledge
Poco is still alive. It seems that someone recently reported a small dead whale, possibly
Poco, to USCG Portland. Upon further investigation, the USCG believes that the dead whale is NOT a beluga whale.
A friend saw Poco today in Falmouth. Had to stop his dinghy engine because of the whale frolicking beneath the dinghy.
09-12-2004, 11:31 PM
Thanks for the update. Don't you all love
a happy ending?
Still, I'd feel a lot better if I knew he
was heading NE (which he evidently doesn't
seem to be ... at least, yet) towards his
I think there is a moral to this exchange
that is relevant for sailors: where someone's
life is in question never give up hope unless
and until all possibilities are exhausted.
Live long and free, Poco!
09-13-2004, 01:04 AM
A few years ago I visited the Vancouver Zoo. The highlight of the visit was watching a beluga very deliberately stalk and sguirt a stream of water at a pesky gull on the edge of the tank. Pure mischief!
09-13-2004, 08:32 AM
Jim -- Yes, if Poco is any indication, belugas
are very playful and intelligent.
Poco had a bunch of tricks. These were all
self-taught; he has no trainer. I think he
was very aware of the fact that people liked
his tricks. I.e. he wanted approval and to be
the center of attention. E.g. he likes to play
tricks with small craft like kayaks and dinghies
_(especially if the latter are inflatables and rowed) like spinning them in circles or taking
them in tow; in Rockland he played with a paddle
as if he was a dog with a bone; and also in
Rockland when a Boston Whaler came nearby and
anchored with a grapnel, he dove to the bottom
and came to the surface with the anchor in his mouth!
_Very_ intelligent. Certainly much more
intelligent than a dog. He has an incredible
spirit as well and often shows amazing displays
of affection and social awareness. E.g. when
there were a whole bunch of small craft in the water near him in Rockland, he took the time
to share himself with everyone; when a
kayaker dived into the water to swim with him
(which I didn't approve of) and then couldn't lift
himself back on-board the kayak, Poco put his
head under his butt and gently pushed him upwards
out of the water!
I was told that belugas have teeth and can take
a bite if they have a mind to, but I never for
a moment felt threatened by him. Quite the contrary. A more gentle, kind-hearted, and
intelligent spirit I have never known.
So, yes, he has mischeif in him ... but he has
so much more.
My greatest fear is that ultimately it is the
love that he sought out and received from
people that will be his undoing.
09-13-2004, 11:14 AM
I sent this link to on of my sailing buddies for confirmation - They had Poco follow then around for about 25 minutes closer to spring time in Salem Harbor this year...
They both though it was rather amazing to have a whale come so close and Mary actually touched him..
We didn't know about Poco at the time - Mary and John named him Fluffy back then smile.gif
09-13-2004, 12:56 PM
You could also suggest that they do an advanced
google search using the two words 'poco' and 'beluga'. He's really quite a famous
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