- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
WHALE'S PROGRESS (CONT.)
When last we left Namu the killer whale (SI, July 26), he was lolling along at sea on his way to a Seattle aquarium. Around him was a flimsy cage, an armada of little boats, some other visiting whales and a wonderfully lunatic air of long-sustained suspense. In short, the entire adventure was about as shaky as the cage.
It was becoming a good deal sturdier as Namu neared Seattle last Sunday. The Free-Namu forces, still hopeful that he would escape, continued to fight, but weakly. They cited an obscure state law that prohibits feeding Namu people-food, such as salmon. But Thor Tollefson, state fisheries chief, granted a 30-day amnesty which, hopefully, would give Namu's owner, Edward Griffin, time to wean the whale to trash fish.
Maybe. Another state biologist said killer whales eat only live food and, therefore, Namu probably was not eating the dead salmon thrown to him but instead was living on his blubber while waiting for a few fat seals to swim by. If this proved true, Owner Edward Griffin might end up exhibiting the world's skinniest whale. No one thought that seal lovers—or even fur-coat lovers—would hold still if Griffin tried to provide Namu with his favorite fare.
About that exhibit. Enter more humans with an idea about as brave—or as crazy—as any so far. They will donate a nylon-coated fabric to line Namu's cage while a permanent viewing pool is being built. "We'll put in the liner like making up a hospital bed with the patient in it," said one spokesman. That means rolling Namu from side to side while the bottom sheet is tucked under. Odds in Seattle bars are 8 to 5 it can't be done.
And what of Namu himself? Over last weekend he swam calmly along, full of salmon—or blubber—and seemingly happy, except for a quarter-acre expanse of sunburned dorsal fin. By now incapable of being surprised by anything, even a sunburned whale, his keepers tried to brush the fin with zinc oxide and mineral oil, using a paintbrush tied to a 15-foot pole. Namu bared his teeth at them and the talk turned to erecting some sort of parasol to shade him.
Killer whales are reputed to be vastly intelligent; yet here is one, caught in a flimsy net, possibly hungry and certainly sunburned, who looks less smart by the mile. This week ought to tell. Perhaps Namu is smarter than we think. Maybe, like all of us, he can hardly wait to see what will happen next.
Grand Prix Driver Jim Clark is a happy robot. He climbs into the Lotus that Engineer-manager Colin Chapman builds, drives the race that Colin Chapman advises and almost always wins—five out of five so far this year, more than most drivers win in a lifetime. He missed the Grand Prix of Monaco because he was busy that day collecting $166,621 for winning the Indianapolis 500.
It is all but a foregone conclusion that Clark will win the World Driving and Manufacturers championships this year. To clinch it he need win only one of the four remaining races. At the rate he is going he can almost triple the record lifetime total of Grand Prix victories (24) set by the legendary Juan Fangio.