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How to Attach a Video Camera to a Humpback Whale

 Ari Friedlaender, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University, deploying a multi-sensor tag on a blue whale off the California coast. Credit Jeremy Goldbogen
Ari Friedlaender, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University, deploying a multi-sensor tag on a blue whale off the California coast. Credit

Jeremy Goldbogen

Jeremy Goldbogen
Jul 9 2017

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By JOANNA KLEIN

Hop into an inflatable boat and head out to where they’re feeding. Stand in a pulpit with a 20-some-foot pole in your hands. Then watch and wait until you spot a whale. Plan your angle of approach with the driver of the boat. (Never approach directly from behind). Get close. Get closer. Get within 16 feet of this sea giant — which is more than twice the size of your boat if it’s a humpback — and as soon as it surfaces, tap the whale on its wet tire of a back with the pole. If you’re lucky, the detachable suction-cup on the end of the pole — which has a camera and sensors — will stick.

Congratulations.

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