Seas quieted by pandemic could reduce stress, improve health in whales
Scientists have a rare chance to study a marine world largely free of humans and their noisy machines.
The pandemic had quieted the waters of Monterey Bay. Gone were the speedboats, the yachts, and the whale-watching tours. Closed restaurants and shuttered docks kept commercial fishing boats away. Cruise-ship travel was on hiatus.
Earlier this year, with the first coronavirus lockdowns in full swing, whale scientist and National Geographic Explorer Ari Friedlaender spied an opening. He’d returned from studying whales in Antarctica to find few cars on the road, virtually no vessels on the water, and humpbacks arriving in central California from their winter calving grounds in Mexico. One of the Golden State’s most popular coastal recreation spots was suddenly free of the human noises known to hurt sea creatures.
So Friedlaender got permission to boat into the waters of Monterey