In 2014 James Nestor, freediver and author of the book DEEP: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves, gave a fascinating talk entitled “Humanity and the Deep Ocean” at The Interval at Long Now in San Francisco.
To illustrate his the subject of his lecture, Nestor shared some absolutely stunning footage of several freedivers engaging with enormous but welcoming sperm whales who tried to communicate with their very loud clicking language that whales use amongst themselves.
Nestor explains how citizen scientist freedivers interact with sperm whales and other sea life in ways that are not possible using other technologies. They can swim within feet of these giant mammals. And the whales amazingly reorient themselves as if to start a conversation. In fact they send clicks (recordings of which Nestor plays onstage) which are used for communication, not geolocation. When you realize how developed the brains of these creatures are, it’s not surprising that they would have something to say.