15-meter male sperm whale, Ogasawara Islands

15-meter male sperm whale, Ogasawara Islands, originally uploaded by echeng.
We spent much of the today watching a huge (15m / 49ft) sperm whale. The crew said that it was a big male, and that male sperm whales in Ogasawara are both rare and shy. We dropped in several times at a distance and swam to him to see if he would tolerate our presence. In most cases, he did shallow dives as we approached, but just once (when I was alone), he surfaced and turned to face me. The sperm whale was gigantic, and his huge head had large bulges coming out of it (it has to be shaped like that to hold the spermiceti organ). I have to admit that I was a little concerned when he swam to me, nearly blocking out the sun. I know that whales have very rarely harmed humans, but the mind comes up with all sorts of bizarre scenarios. :) echeng091016_023246

For more photos, see [the official trip report](/journal/2009/10/19/trip-report-sperm-whale-expedition-to-ogasawara-japan/)!