I’d first heard of the loneliest whale in an odd place, though I am not sure there is a normal place to learn about him. Leslie Jamison, a fabulous writer and essayist (a whole other story entirely) told me one evening of an essay in the works – her heart felt and tireless pursuit to somehow tell the story of The Loneliest Whale. And though our conversation was brief this idea lodged itself in the folds of my heart and has stayed there since, as I am sure it will now with you as well.
In the 1980s, the US Navy provided a group of scientists with underwater recordings they’d collected while researching submarines. In these recordings are the sounds of baleen whales as they cried out across the ocean in search of a mate. The frequency of the cries is typically between 17-18 hertz. However, one whale was recorded at 52 hertz– The Loneliest Whale. These sounds, these songs, are the way they find each other, travel together, and communicate. Thus, this 52-hertz whale has been alone his entre life, crying out at a frequency no other whale will ever hear. And waiting for a response that will never come. Scientists have been listening and tracking him for the past twenty years, but no one has yet seen him.
The story of The Loneliest Whale has inspired people around the world, leading to endless creations of art and poetry and a following of folks eager to see a connection made. So, Adrian Grenier, Josh Zeman and a troupe of scientists are looking to set out on an expedition to locate The Loneliest Whale and reach out to him, and let him know he is not alone– to give him the connection every living social creature deserves to have. Learn more and how you can help make all of this happen, by clicking The Loneliest Whale, and be a part of one of the world’s still great mysteries. Let 52 know we are listening.